Praise For Tesla From A Gear Head

Auto One EDIT3

I’m a really nice guy. Like, really, really nice. All of the time my friends and family approach me with automotive queries because they know I will give them an honest answer. For example, when a family member calls me and says “hey my change oil light is on, what should I do?”  and “my tires are bald, should I get new ones?” I have the unique ability to give straight forward answers and not dance around asking questions like; Did you dress yourself today?”.

 

The other week my brother-in-law called me and asked if I could help get his car tinted and a stone chip on the windshield fixed. “sure I can, I can do that in a day”. He was super happy as he was going out of town and said he would just leave me the car for a couple of days (and I get to drive it). My brother-in-law drives a Tesla 85D. This is an electric car with the ability to go zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds. Understandably I was very excited by the opportunity to thrash, drive his car. Let me back up a bit. When my brother-in-law first ordered his Tesla he was super excited about it and understandably so. Technology from the future, crazy power and great fit and finish. I on the other hand was a little underwhelmed at first, I thought, what’s the big deal right? It’s like driving an electric razor with an i-pad for a console. I thought it would lack the passion of a combustion engine. When he got it I thought “okay, this is cool but I would still rather have ______ insert premium luxury sedan”. Essentially I thought that liking that car would make me less of a “car guy” because I was liking something without an engine.

 

However, after driving it for a couple of days I would liken it to a slot car with an in between stage. Step on the accelerator pedal (can’t really call it a gas pedal) and it drives like any other car. Mash it with your foot and watch the world melt away though the windshield. Don’t forget, this is with 2 car seats comfortably in the back too! Imagine all that torque and power available from 0 RPM because there is no engine to turn over. Instant terminal velocity…. My tear ducts have not fully recovered.

 

The technology is amazing in the car. The Auto Pilot mode will legitimately steer, accelerate and brake the car its self. You want to change lanes? just click the turn signal and watch the computer overlords sense when an appropriate opening becomes available and technology will then put you in the next lane. The on board navigation has built in internet browsing and the car will tell you the stock numbers too (if you are into that sort of thing) and a full internet browser. Imagine driving from Toronto to Kingston without using the steering wheel or the pedals. It is a novel concept that took some time for my weak human, non-Tesla brain to comprehend.

 

Usually when I have to drive family/friends cars for service I can’t wait to give them back. I don’t want to be responsible for any damage like “was this crease in the leather always there?” or, “I don’t remember the car sounding like this”… with this car I would gladly keep driving it because the reward is definitely worth the risk.

Now I will write my first draft of the apology letter to my brother-in-law….

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It’s Never To Early To Talk Tires

We usually become proactive in tire maintenance as the season changes.  And the season will change sooner than we probably expect.  Here is some ‘tire talk’ for you to prepare for that moment of ‘change’.

How long do tires last?

Tires manufactured today are more durable than ever before. They are made of steel, rubber and fabric woven together. Over 1 billion tires are produced every year. However, it is still important to be very well aware how long can you use tires before you make the replacement. The life expectancy of a tire greatly depends on its maintenance, environmental conditions and the driving style of the driver.

40 years ago, the average life expectancy of a tire was not more than two years!  Today it is best to change your tires after every 6 years at least.  After tires hit a life span of 6 years, they should be discarded. This is because rubber loses its elasticity and resistance properties over that period.

Factor Affecting the Life of Tires

Climatic Conditions – If you stay near the beach or if it rains a lot in your area, the chances are the moisture in the air will ruin the rubber faster.

Road Conditions – A bumpy ride can also reduce your tire’s life

Exposure to Sun – Simply put, the more the exposure to the sun, the sooner the tire ages.

Other Factors – Avoid exceeding the total limit of weight allowed for your tires to carry.

Quality of Maintenance – How long you can use tires depends a lot on how you took care of it in the first place. When the tires are neglected or the wheel alignment is not correct, it will accelerate the aging process.

How to Extend Your Tire’s Life

Tire life can be enhanced by several strategies that will help protect them from premature rotting.

1 – Check your tires for proper inflation pressures on a monthly basis. Buy and use a good digital tire gauge even though your tires may be equipped with tire pressure monitors. Do not use the maximum pounds per square inch (PSI) noted on the tire’s sidewall as the measure for proper inflation; the recommended PSI for your vehicle’s tires is located on the driver’s side door jamb or in the owner’s manual for your car. Under- or over-inflation of your tires inhibits the effectiveness of stabilizing additives found in most tires.

Under-Inflated Tread Wear

2 – Park your car in a garage or carport to decrease the tires’ exposure to the elements.  Protection from excessive heat and UV rays will help protect your tires from premature rot.

3 – Apply a tire conditioner that is formulated to protect tires from UV rays and/or ozone. Household cleansers and petrochemical or silicone containing tire cleaning products can actually remove much of the tire’s protective waxes.

4 – Drive the car regularly and at moderate speeds. Car tires that sit, unmoving, for long periods of time do not flex. Therefore, the stabilizing additives do not distribute as designed.

5 – Buy new tires that were manufactured no more than two years prior. Dates are located on one side of each tire, and use numbers that coincide with week and year of manufacture. For example, 1209 means it was made in the twelfth week of 2009. Ask for tires that have UV stabilizers and ozone shielding additives.

Outside edges: tires that are worn on the outside edges have been under inflated. There is excessive contact with the outer edges of the tire and the road surface as the vehicle travels down the road.

Center of tire: tires that are worn in the center have been over inflated. There is excessive contact with the center of the tire and the road surface. Always use a tire gauge when inflating tires.

One of the edges: when the tire is worn on one side but not the other the camber angle is off either negative or positive. (Positive camber: is when the top of the tire leans away from the vehicle. Negative camber is when the top of the tire leans in towards the vehicle. This can also be caused by bent or damaged front end parts: tie rods, ball joints, etc.)

Tire is feathered: when the tire is feathered across the tread the tie rods are worn or the vehicle needs to be aligned. The ball studs get loose in their sockets allowing the tires to toe in/out as the vehicle travels down the road. Toe in is when the fronts of the tires are closer together than the rears and toe out is when the fronts of the tires are further apart than the rears.

Tire is scalloped: when the tire is scalloped or cupped across the tread it is usually caused by bad shocks or struts. This can also be caused by out of balance tires. Jounce the front end to see if it oscillates and test drive the vehicle to see if it floats and leans excessively around corners. Bad struts are the number one cause of cupped tires. Tire wear can indicate a worn steering or suspension component, an over or under inflated tire, or a misaligned vehicle. Visual inspection of vehicle tires is an important step in the preliminary inspection process.

Rotate your tires!

Tire rotation can be beneficial in several ways. When done at the recommended times, it can preserve balanced handling and traction and even out tire wear. Tire rotation can even provide performance advantages.

Many tire mileage warranties require tire rotation to keep the warranty valid. When should tires be rotated? We recommend that tires be rotated every 6,000 to 10,000Km even if they don’t show signs of wear.  Consider tire rotation with oil change intervals while the vehicle is off the ground.

Tire rotation helps even out tire wear by allowing each tire to serve in as many of the vehicle’s wheel positions as possible. Remember, tire rotation can’t correct wear problems due to worn mechanical parts or incorrect inflation pressures.

If you maintain your tires, observe the wear on your tires, rotate your tires and recognize a tire has a life of it’s own, you will maximize it.  Be sure to talk about your tires with your car connection at Auto|One.

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