Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Upsizing Wheels and Tires With Automotion

At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let’s pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of you for today’s discussion about upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don’t eat them now – your going to need them later.

Many Reno drivers want to accessorize their car – you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs at Sparks area tire shops to get you the look you want. And for many Hidden Valley drivers, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

So let’s talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It’s not exactly a DIY project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your sedan suspension, you’ll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let’s think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They’re all about the same size. So if we pretend they’re tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we’ve made the hole bigger on some. That’s like having a bigger wheel – but the rolling diameter is the same.

It’s important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the sedan wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won’t work properly.

Some motorists have cars with electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let’s think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top car makers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you’ll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there’s more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of Reno folks with trucks or SUVs love the extra control.

Nevada drivers need to watch out that the contact patch isn’t so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we’re talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at Automotion can help you get this right. He’ll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road in Nevada a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at Automotion knows how to help.

And don’t forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you’ll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment at Automotion after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.

Stop by Automotion to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires.
You’ll find us at 225 Telegraph Street in Reno, Nevada 89502.

Maintaining Your Older Car In Reno Nevada

The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Reno Nevada: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Reno Nevada motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Sparks area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Sparks have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’.

Give Automotion a call to schedule your next maintenance.
225 Telegraph Street
Reno, Nevada 89502
(775) 624-5152

Some owner’s manuals don’t specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It’s also time to make sure you have a good Reno Nevada technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble’s brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it’s way cheaper than a new car payment!

The Automotion Guide To Custom Wheels

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If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your sedan, there are a few things you should know first.

Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Reno auto owners have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don’t fit right and the tires rub against the sedan when they turn or go over a bump.

To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Automotion tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your sedan. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you’ll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.

But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you’re willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable Sparks professional’s help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Reno custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.

The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your sedan are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason motorists should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Reno. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.

Your car’s computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your sedan, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in costly damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.

If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine’s computer reprogrammed at Automotion to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn’t just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want, and meet your handling needs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at Automotion in Reno.

After all, good car care isn’t just about preventive maintenance. It’s also about making good choices.

Serpentine Belt Service At Automotion In Reno

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your sedan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Reno.

Serpentine Belt Service At Automotion In RenoMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

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 sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Reno cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Reno motorists realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why car makers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Automotion.

At Automotion in Reno, your friendly 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, 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 friendly technician at Automotion. 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 Automotion, we recommend Reno auto owners 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 sedan.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is important to the operation of your sedan. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Automotion – so it’s good to do so before it fails.