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ABS Keeps You Off Skid Row

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If your car has ever started skidding on a wet or icy road, you know how frightening it is to lose control of both steering and braking. Now, picture that same scenario while trying to land a plane on a short, narrow landing strip.

Anti-lock braking systems first appeared in aircraft and then motorcycles before the technology became available in production autos. Since it has been a standard safety feature for decades, many of today's drivers have never driven an automobile without ABS.

The anti-lock brake system was devised to prevent wheel lock-up during a skid. It does this by applying and releasing the brakes up to fifteen times per second, depending on the optimal rate for maintaining or regaining control.

In the days before ABS, new drivers were taught to pump the brakes in an emergency traction-loss situation. With ABS, you are supposed to apply strong and consistently pressure to the brake pedal if you are in jeopardy of skidding. Though your adrenaline and blood pressure probably go through the roof, the capable ABS system takes over:

1. Monitors the speed of the wheels
2. Determines the necessary braking pressure
3. Regulates the discharge of hydraulic fluid to the brake calipers respectively

You can tell it's working when you feel the pedal pulsing. The essential components of the ABS system are the wheel sensors, valves, pumps and electronic control unit (ECU).

If your ABS alert comes on, or you feel a change in your brakes, call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair to schedule a brake inspection and service. We can be reached at 716-665-2501. Thanks for visiting our blog.

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8 Red Flags For Used Car Shoppers

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At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we hate to see people get scammed when buying used vehicles. Protect yourself by watching out for these signs of a bad deal.

1. Seller Refuses Mechanic's Inspection

If the seller doesn't allow you to take the automobile to I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for a pre-purchase used car examination, they are probably hiding something.

2. Dealer Complaints

Online customer reviews are a great tool when researching any business, but they are especially critical for a big-ticket purchase.

3. Odd Transaction Terms

Escrow accounts, bank wire transfers, upfront deposits, overseas delivery, no face-to-face contact, the seller was unexpectedly called up for military deployment, claim of PayPal or eBay guarantee, etc.

Buying locally is safest.

4. Excessive Rust

Rust compromises the structural integrity of the frame. Replacing panels is costly and time-consuming.

5. Mismatched Paint

Car owners don't add mismatched paint for the fun of it. It is a result of a shoddy repair job.

6. Mildewy Smell

This could indicate flood damage.

7. Missing Service Records

If the seller can't provide maintenance records, move on.

8. Registration and Title Don't Match Up

This may be a sign of a cloned VIN.

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Your Parking Brake and You

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It goes by many names: parking brake, emergency brake, handbrake, E brake. When used properly it can be one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. This secondary breaking system was created to be used in the case of brake system failure. These days most of the safety benefit comes from using it when you park your car.

There are four forms of parking brakes:

1. Center lever, placed between the two front seats of the auto
2. Pedal, on the far left of all the floor pedals
3. Stick lever, located under the instrument panel (less typical on newer autos)
4. Electric or push button, found on the console controls in late-model cars

Many car owners only decide to use the parking brake when they park on steep hills. This is a serious mistake, especially if you are driving a manual transmission vehicle.

Get into the habit of using your emergency brake every time you park. And if you want to put less stress on your transmission, follow this formula when you park your car.

1. Stop the car all the way with your primary brakes
2. Set the parking brake
3. Place your car in park
4. Turn off the car

Some car owners who have the center lever brake question whether they should push the button in when they set the brake. Well, keep wondering because there is no definitive opinion. Older cars used materials on these brakes that could wear out, but newer vehicles shouldn't have that issue, despite the ratcheting sound you hear.

If you've ever driven with your E brake engaged, don't be ashamed, it happens to everyone sooner or later. So is it a concern? Yes, that's why getting into the habit of engaging the brake is important because you'll be less likely to forget to disengage it.

But is it the end of the life of your parking brake? Probably not. But it is smart to have an emergency brake inspection. Visit us at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair and we can take a look at your brake system and any other parts of your car that concern you. Call us at 716-665-2501 for an appointment today.

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Road Trip Inspiration

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The term "National Scenic Byway" is an official designation bestowed by the US Department of Transportation. To qualify, a route must have archeological, cultural, historic, natural, or recreational significance. Or it can merely offer drop-dead gorgeous panoramas. Let's look at some of the drives our country has to offer:

Maui’s Hana Highway

Hana Highway is a 64.4 mile segment of highway between Kahului and Hana on the island of Maui. It takes two and a half hours to drive this road when no stops are made. But you will want to stop at many stunning vistas. We suggest planning half a day to explore this gem.

Miami to Key West Overseas Highway (pictured)

From Miami to Key West, this 160-mile drive (and engineering marvel) will have you ‘ooh-ing’ and 'aah-ing' the whole way.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

We wanted to recognize a route that is often overlooked in articles about scenic 'US' drives. Since Puerto Rico is a US Territory, this one qualifies, though many tourists visit it by cruise ship. You could happily get lost in Old San Juan. It’s the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico and on its own little island 35 miles north of the most eastern point of Puerto Rico. You get to it by three bridges that deliver uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay.

Pacific Coast Highway

An inspiration for countless feel-good songs, this coastal gem is officially called State Route 1. We recommend doing this one in a convertible or classic VW bus with a surfboard rack on top. If you're planning a trip to the Golden State, you can start up north in Leggett or at the southern end near Dana Point.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway is not only a Scenic Byway, it's an All-American road. An All-American road must meet two of the "intrinsic qualities" listed previously. Not surprisingly, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge mountains. It is located on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Don't drive this one too fast. You'll want to appreciate the drop-dead gorgeous vistas. (And avoid a speeding ticket.)

Route 66

Fortunately, there are still a few segments of this historic road intact. One is a three-hundred-mile section from Chicago, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri. On the northeast end, the ‘Mother Road’ of America starts on Adams Street, just west of Michigan Ave. You can get your kicks at several Route 66 museums along the way. Stop for a bite at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Wilmington, Illinois. This vintage roadhouse has been serving hungry motorists since 1946.

Before you head out on your next excursion, schedule a pre-trip inspection at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair in Falconer.

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Answers to Tire FAQs from I-86 Truck & Auto Repair

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Tire manufacturing is a huge industry. There are approximately 400 tire factories around the world that produce 1 billion tires a year. If you own an automobile, you’ve had to deal with replacing tires.

So what are some vital things you need to know about tires? Here are answers to frequently asked tire questions we get at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair.

Which tire is best for your vehicle?

Make sure you use the size recommended by the car maker. Unless you want to do some major modifications.

As far as the type of tire to use, you are safe if you follow the manufacturer's recommendations. The three main types of tires are all-season, winter, and summer. Of course, there are other circumstances that will affect your choice of tire.

Consider the type of driving that you do. Driving a truck off-road is a lot different than driving a passenger car on pavement every day. Consider the climate you live in.

You get what you pay for. Don't choose the lowest priced. It will have to be replaced sooner. Consider how many miles a tire is supposed to last. Find out if the tires have a warranty and the details.

Also, consider whether you want to put snow tires on your vehicle every fall. If you must drive on ice and snow several months out of the year, snow tires will be the safest choice for winter. But if winters are mild where you live, all-seasons will save you the trouble and expense of switching tires twice a year. A service advisor at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair can give you valuable guidance.

Why would I want performance tires?

If you want more speed, better handling, better steering, and better braking. If your car came with performance tires, it will handle differently if you switch to all-season tires. Drivers who swear by performance tires would argue that it will handle a lot worse. So there is always a trade-off when deciding between all-seasons and performance tires.

Which tire will last the longest?

If you want your tires to last, stay away from high-performance tires. Performance tires are very soft compared to other tires. They simply come apart easier and faster.

Keep your tires properly inflated. A I-86 Truck & Auto Repair service specialist can tell you the recommended pressure for your tires. This will also ensure that you get the best possible fuel economy.

Winter tires are not just for the snow.

Winter tires are great if you live in a cold place. They have a softer tread and are designed to push slush and water away from the tires while driving. They will also last 3-4 seasons depending on how often you drive; hopefully not too much in those conditions.

How do you know when you need winter tires? Easy! If you can see your breath, get winter tires.

What if you drive in all different types of conditions?

Get the best bang for your buck by choosing all-season tires. They perform in wet and dry conditions.

If you are selling a used automobile, remember that the condition of your tires can greatly impact the overall value. The better the tires, the more your automobile is worth. Tires are a big-ticket item regardless of the age of your car. Buyers considering an older, less expensive automobile may put more importance on tire condition. This makes sense. If you are buying a used car and can't spend more than $5,000, the cost of new tires represents a significant portion of your budget.

On the flipside, what if you are shopping for a used automobile? Make sure you identify the condition of the tires. Since they are such a big-ticket item, a car with new tires saves you money right up front. If you are interested in a used vehicle that has bald tires, ask the seller to deduct the replacement cost from the asking price.

Don't worry about remembering all this information. A tire specialist at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair can guide you in choosing tires for your vehicle. We can be reached at 716-665-2501.

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