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Not So Hot in Kannapolis

Posted January 13, 2019 02:04 AM

When the weather turns cold, it's nice to crank up the furnace and enjoy the heat. But if your home's furnace doesn't work, it's not too comfortable. Same goes with your vehicle. When the heater's not working, things can get miserable. It could also signal some major problems, which we'll discuss later.

A vehicle's heating system is fairly complicated. It's made up of several parts, including a blower motor/fan, a heater core and some mechanical and electrical components. In basic terms, a vehicle's engine warms up coolant which is then sent to the heater core (which is kind of like a small radiator) behind the dash. That blower motor sends cold air through the heater core which heats up the air. Voila! Heat.

Diagnosing problems in this system takes a trained mechanic because of the different possible issues. Your heater core may need replacing; they are sometimes in tight spots and may be difficult to work on. Another possible problem could be a defective thermostat, which regulates how the coolant flows through the engine. You may have a leak somewhere in your cooling system. Those leaks may be something as simple as a detached hose clamp or as serious as a bad head gasket. A knowledgeable technician at Brothers Tire will be able to track the problems down.

For those reasons, it's wise to get your vehicle's heating system repaired. Not only can driving an unheated vehicle on a cold day freeze your fingers, some related engine problems that are not repaired could leave you stranded.

Smart drivers keep up the maintenance on their vehicle's cooling system; it's a hot tip to prevent a cold vehicle.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Brothers Tire Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular Gas

Posted January 06, 2019 01:26 AM

Kannapolis residents often ask the question: "Will using premium gas make my car run better?" The answer is simple. But first, let's talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Kannapolis, North Carolina, also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There's a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by Brothers Tire in Kannapolis.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Serpentine Belt Service at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis

Posted January 01, 2019 09:21 AM

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Kannapolis vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Kannapolis drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at Brothers Tire.

At Brothers Tire in Kannapolis, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at Brothers Tire. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Brothers Tire, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at Brothers Tire – so it's good to do so before it fails.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Brothers Tire Engine Air Filter Replacement

Posted December 30, 2018 07:26 AM

When your experienced Brothers Tire technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn't need a new air filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your technician's auto advice if they tell you to change your air filter.

An air filter does what its name implies: it filters stuff out of the air. Air is drawn into your engine through the filter because your engine needs air to burn fuel. If the filter weren't there, a lot of dust and debris would come into the vehicle engine with the air when you are driving around Kannapolis. That dust and debris would get hot, burn and produce all kinds of ash and gumminess that would eventually clog up your engine.

Drop in an air filter and voilá! Problem solved.

But air filters themselves get clogged up with all the junk they clean out of the Kannapolis air. This doesn't allow the junk into the vehicle engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.

Kannapolis residents who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Brothers Tire service advisor. Premium air filters have been proven to increase horsepower and torque. So with the cost of a premium air filter, you can increase the horsepower in your engine — there's no cheaper way to do that!

It's also one of the simplest elements of routine preventive maintenance – and it protects against damage to expensive vehicle electronic systems. No Kannapolis resident should have an excuse to drive around North Carolina roads and highways with a dirty air filter.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203

 



Problems with Suspension Solved at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis

Posted December 23, 2018 03:40 AM

A vehicle's suspension system is tough. It can last for years and after lots of driving for Kannapolis drivers. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Kannapolis drivers to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an inspection at Brothers Tire . An ineffective suspension system will decrease the driver's control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks reduce the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your vehicle might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a safety feature of your vehicle, it's always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it's time for new shocks. Your technician at Brothers Tire will check your shocks visually. If they're leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any one of these symptoms warrants an inspection of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Kannapolis drivers should never put off suspension repairs. If you experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to — or better than — the original shocks on the vehicle. The original equipment was for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Kannapolis drivers should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Kannapolis drivers. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your vehicle's handling performance, then you should upgrade to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Kannapolis or tow a trailer, then you should definitely be getting heavy-duty shocks.

 Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Make Your Battery Last

Posted December 16, 2018 10:59 AM



Today's report from Brothers Tire is on vehicle batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn't. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Kannapolis vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that's an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around in North Carolina. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they're hot than when they're cold.

A vehicle battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates — for the lack of a better word — 'die.' Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Kannapolis area is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the vehicle. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you're driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity-hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it's no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may have heard these chargers referred to as 'trickle chargers.' They're attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now, there's some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you'll have to tend it. Frankly there is a learning curve on how to do it right and it requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it's fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery, something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That'll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Brothers Tire to clean it for you. We can even test your battery and tell you if it's time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Brothers Tire about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.

Posted December 09, 2018 06:31 AM

No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision.  Should I get it fixed now, later or never?  Air conditioning is one of those things.  You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day.

Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter.  Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all?

That can be a tough decision.  There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break.  One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system.  It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor.

Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out.  Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking.  With a refrigerant recharge, you're back in business.  The repair costs vary, depending on the reason for the leak.

When air conditioning malfunctions involve a compressor, evaporator or condenser, the costs can be significant since parts and labor add up.  Depending on the age and value of your vehicle, you may choose to simply roll down the windows and live with it. 

Keep in mind that many vehicles in cold climates use air conditioning in winter.  Many vehicles automatically turn on the A/C when you use the defroster.  The A/C dries the heated air it blows on the windshield and side windows to eliminate fogging more quickly.  Outside conditions such as snow and ice can severely hamper visibility.  Add to that fogging on the inside and it can present very challenging conditions for the driver.

In order for all systems to be functioning optimally, a vehicle owner might feel it's worth it for safety reasons to get a broken air conditioner fixed, even if it is done right before the approach of cold weather.  Discuss these options with your service advisor so you can make the best decision for your situation.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203

 



The Best Test

Posted December 02, 2018 12:32 PM

Would you buy a jacket without even trying it on? Probably not, but it might surprise you that one study shows about half the people buy a vehicle after a short test drive around the block or none at all.  If you're in the market for another vehicle, make sure you check out the most important things so you'll know if that's the right vehicle for you.

Check out the gadgets.  Love a good sound system? Then turn it up loud.  Does it have enough bass for you? See how you like its navigation system if it has one.  Try pairing your Bluetooth smartphone with the vehicle.  Test out how to set the cruise control and how steady it keeps the speed. Back up and check out the rearview camera. If you buy this vehicle, you'll have to live with all of these things every time you drive.

Test the vehicle on roads you know.  See how it handles bumps and potholes, how it takes that tight curve that you drive every day to and from work.  Driving on familiar roads gives you a chance to compare what you know with what you're thinking about buying.

Check the fit.  One suburban mom drove a full-sized SUV and loved it until she got it home and realized it was too high for her old garage.  Remodeling the garage would be the only answer! Try installing your child seats.  Size matters, especially in a vehicle.

Gauge the fuel economy. Many vehicles have a trip computer that will calculate fuel economy quickly.  Here's a tip: you can reset it before your test drive and when you're finished, check it and see what fuel economy you got.  It will be a smaller sampling than would be ideal, but it will give you an idea.

Take as much time as you can.  A lot of sellers will pressure you to restrict your test drive to 10-15 minutes.  Ideally, you'd like to have that vehicle for a week, but that's usually not possible. So, try for something in between. Remember, this could be your vehicle for years to come.

Keep in mind that every vehicle will feel strange to you at first. Buying a vehicle is a little like getting married.  You want that marriage to be happy, and you want it to last, so take the time to get to know it as well as you can.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203


For Brakes' Sake (Brake Rotor Service in Kannapolis)

Posted November 25, 2018 11:20 AM

Think of how much abuse your brakes take. Day in and day out, they stop your vehicle when it's going fast and when it's going slow. Maybe your vehicle has been vibrating when you brake, or maybe it seems like your stopping distance is a little bit longer than it used to be.

Then it's time to get your brakes checked out. After all, you have to be able to stop if you want to be safe. Nearly all newer vehicles have disc brakes on the front, and many have that type of brake on all four wheels. That makes it likely you'll be getting disc brakes fixed at some time in your vehicle's lifetime.

Knowing how disc brakes work is as easy as riding a bicycle. If your bike had hand brakes, you'll probably remember a mechanism that squeezed a couple of pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you applied the brakes. Disc brakes are similar; but instead of the bike wheel, there's a metal disc instead. If that disc is warped or has irregularities in it, it's going to vibrate.

It used to be that rotors were thick, and when they warped, a technician could "turn" them to scrape off a layer of metal so their sides were straight again. The latest vehicles are using thinner, lighter rotors with a slightly different construction. Now, it's likely that rotors that are resurfaced this way will not have enough metal left to work safely. In fact, some manufacturers advise only replacing rotors that are worn out.

Newer designs have reduced rotor prices, and in many cases, the labor cost of turning the rotors is higher than buying new. There are times, though, where your rotors can be resurfaced and still meet manufacturer specifications.

If you have a rotor replaced on one side of your vehicle, it might be a good idea to replace rotors on the other side, too.

Maybe you're looking for the new rotors to last longer than the ones that were on there. New technologies can offer a longer lifespan in a premium rotor. Armed with knowing the type of driving you do, you and your Brothers Tire service advisor can make the best decision on which direction you want to go with your new brakes.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Brothers Tire Service for Your Exhaust System

Posted November 18, 2018 10:54 AM

Your vehicle's exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your vehicle.

The manifold is attached to the vehicle engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is important Kannapolis residents keep their exhaust system in good repair.


The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air.

The catalytic converter is the next component of your vehicle exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn't require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in North Carolina. Call Brothers Tire at (704) 933-2203 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the vehicle engine's computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your vehicle exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your vehicle from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is important that damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Kannapolis automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Kannapolis neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your vehicle by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Caring for your vehicle exhaust system at Brothers Tire yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203