There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Reno auto owners’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.
A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Reno. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Sparks atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Reno prone to air pollution.
Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your friendly Automotion service professional to get it done. Check your sedan owner’s manual to find out if your sedan is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.
Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Hidden Valley, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in Nevada, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.
Most Reno folks know that good car care includes keeping your sedan clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!
Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Reno allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Sparks who just wants to breathe better.
When Reno car owners think about preventive maintenance, what usually comes to mind is oil, fluids and brakes. We don’t generally think about our shocks or struts, but these critical auto parts keep our tires on the road.
Reno auto owners don’t think about shocks as often as oil changes because shocks and struts last a long time and wear out slowly. They don’t need to be checked as often as our brake pads or air filters. By the time your shocks have fifty thousand miles on them, their performance will have noticeable degraded. If you want to restore the handling and ride designed for your sedan, reflect on replacing your shocks and struts.
Of course, if you drive off-road around Reno, carry heavy loads, tow a trailer, or put in a lot of mileage on poor driving surfaces, your shocks or struts will wear out more quickly. You’ll need to replace them more often or upgrade to better shocks.
Your suspension system uses springs and shocks to absorb the “shocks” and vibrations of driving over road surfaces. Springs support the sedan’s weight, suspending it above the axles so the body of the sedan is protected from most of the bumps on the road. Shocks control the bounciness of the springs by moderating rebound. They also push your tires down onto the road’s surface, maximizing traction. Without shocks, your wheels would bounce over bumps and lift against curbs and corners. Shocks are essential to the safe handling of your sedan as well as a comfortable ride. Struts are a combination shock and spring in one unit.
Worn shocks result in lowered vehicle handling performance. If your vehicle “squirms” around corners or gets “floaty” over bumps, then you need to check your shocks. If the rear end of your vehicle squats while accelerating, the front end dips while braking, or one corner sags, you probably need new shocks.
Uneven tire wear may also be an indication of bad shocks. If shocks are damaged or leaking, they definitely need to be replaced.
If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, you need to replace them all. This will maintain an even ride and predictable, safe handling.
If you’re unsure whether you need new shocks, or if you’re considering upgrading to a higher quality shock, then consult with your friendly Automotion technician. They can give you critical auto advice on the condition of your shocks and how to match your driving needs to the quality of your shocks.
Good car care is essential to the safety, performance and efficiency of your sedan. It can improve the comfort of your ride as well.
Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Reno drivers couldn’t wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. Nevada auto owners ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.
Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Sparks area are much better designed for the wide range of detrimental conditions that come with Nevada winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Reno temperatures below 45°F, which reduces their traction. That’s a vital concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet Reno conditions. But it also means that Reno auto owners are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it’s dry.
The tread design on winter tires has been improved to actually move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves actually throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can actually pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.
Many winter tires use a micro-pore compound that lets the tire bite into ice and snow. They have wider grooves around the tire that help expel snow. They have a rounder casing to better cut into the surface of snow. Modern winter tires available at Nevada tire shops also have sipes, or thin slits cut into the tread. The edges of these sipes can grab ice and snow so that the tire retains traction on almost any surface. The sipes also help to expel water and slush from the tread. In short, a lot of time and engineering has gone into improving winter tires.
The all-season tire that is popular among Sparks drivers is actually a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Reno car owners in either season, but aren’t great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather, but lousy performance in winter. Reno motorists need to put more thought into their tire choices these days, but that also means they get a lot better performance for their money.
If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed at your Reno service center or Automotion. It’s best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Reno car owners always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.
Imagine this: You take a corner on an icy Sparks road and your rear end starts to slide. What happened is that the front end slowed for the turn, but the rear end hasn’t figured that out yet. If you have high-traction tires on the front of your vehicle, that makes the problem worse. You’re slowing the front end faster and harder, which makes the back end fishtail even more.
Putting the higher traction tires on the rear will give Reno car owners more control for turns, regardless of the type of vehicle driven. Of course, that makes putting high-traction tires on all of your wheels even smarter. Why not give all of your tires the best traction they can get? Some Reno assume that four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles only need winter tires on two wheels. Why? Doesn’t it make sense to give all four wheels the same level of traction and control? Four-wheel or all-wheel drive cannot compensate for poor traction.
Another false assumption held by many Reno auto owners is that if you have traction control and anti-lock brakes, you won’t need winter tires. Traction is critical for good acceleration, steering and stopping. And tires provide traction. Traction control and anti-lock brakes can only improve on that traction. The better the traction, the better the traction control and anti-lock brakes will work. In other words, the better the tires, the better those systems will work for Reno motorists.
A Canadian law requires all passenger vehicles, rental cars and taxis registered in Quebec to have winter tires on all four wheels from November 15th until April 1st.
If you’re shopping for winter tires and live where there is a lot of snow in Nevada, look for a mountain with a snowflake in it molded into the tire’s sidewall. This symbol means the tire complies with severe snow standards. All-season tires have an M&S stamped on the sidewall. M&S stands for mud and snow.
For more vital auto advice about tires for any Nevada season, speak with your friendly Automotion tire professional. They can help you select the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don’t forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for best durability, safety and performance, but don’t overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us Reno drivers.