Monthly Archives: July 2016

How to Handle a Tire at a Time

You can safely replace only one tire if the others still have most of their tread.

Unlike the old days, when a pair of “snow tires” would be mounted to the drive wheels only for winter use, today we recognize that a vehicle should have four matching tires: same type, same model and, yes, even same degree of wear. The reason is simple: A car with four tires that behave the same — whether accelerating, braking or cornering — is balanced and predictable. If any of these factors are different at one or more wheels, traction characteristics can vary and performance will be unbalanced.

Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch, and most new tires typically have 10/32 to 12/32 (5/16 to 3/8) of an inch of tread. If a car’s other tires have lost only 2/32 or up to maybe 4/32 of their original tread depth, it’s probably OK to replace just the damaged tire.

There can be exceptions, though. Some manufacturers of all-wheel-drive vehicles recommend that all four tires be replaced, not just one or two, because a new tire will have a larger overall diameter than the other tires. The ones that have lost just a few 32nds of tread depth will spin faster than the new one, and the difference could cause an all-wheel-drive system to engage on dry pavement and possibly damage the system.

On an all-wheel-drive vehicle or one with a conventional four-wheel-drive system, all four tires would ideally be replaced at the same time so they all have the same amount of traction as well as the same diameter.

On a front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, similar guidelines apply. If half or more of the tread on all four tires is gone, replacing just one tire will result in one wheel spinning at a slower rate than the others, possibly sending false signals to the traction control and antilock braking systems. It also will result in one tire having more or less raction for acceleration, braking and cornering grip than the others, which can affect a vehicle’s behavior. On a two-wheel-drive vehicle, a better approach would be to replace both tires on the same axle. The best approach, though, is to replace all four if the tread on the old tires is significantly worn.

One way to avoid buying more than one tire is to have the tread on the new one “shaved” so it matches the depth of the others. Some tire dealers will shave off some tread depth on a special machine for a fee.

If you decide to replace only one tire, it should be the same model, size and tread pattern as the others. A different brand or model tire will have even greater differences in traction and number of revolutions per mile, and it’s likely to wear at a different rate. That means it could conceivably wear out faster than the others, even if it starts out with more tread depth.

Whether you decide to replace just one tire or more, tire experts advise that the new rubber should be mounted on the rear. If new tires are mounted on the front, the worn tires in the rear would be more susceptible to hydroplaning — riding on top of water on the road — and possibly causing the vehicle to spin in a turn.

Automatic Transmission Out at Park

Your shift interlock feature, which requires you to step on the brake pedal to prevent unintentionally shifting out of Park, could be malfunctioning. Alternatively, the shift cable or linkage connected to the shift lever could be gummed up with grease or corroded so that it can’t operate freely.

If the interlock switch is worn and not fully releasing, or the brake lights don’t receive a signal from the brake light switch to illuminate, you won’t be able to shift out of Park.

Grease, dirt and moisture can collect in or on the interlock and brake light switches, and on the shift cable and related parts, hampering their operation. When that happens, you’re most likely to have problems shifting out of Park when the engine and transmission are cold, such as after the car has sat for hours. After the engine gets warm — and other parts get warmer, as well — the goo might become softer and make it easier to shift out of Park.

Most cars have a means of overriding the shift lock so you can drive the car to a mechanic rather than have it towed: A small door the size of a fingernail is often found on the console next to or close to the shifter itself. After prying this cover off, one can insert a screwdriver or key and press down to release the lock. Vehicles with column shifters may hide the release on top of the steering column or on the bottom. Your owner’s manual will help you identify the location on your car.

A transmission that’s low on fluid also can be hard to shift out of Park, though that also would likely cause a noticeable degradation in the transmission’s overall performance, such as sluggish or harsh shifts.

Another possible cause is that when a car is on even a slight incline, it will put more load on the transmission parking pawl (a bar that engages teeth in a transmission gear to prevent the vehicle from rolling). This is more likely to happen if you didn’t engage the parking brake before releasing the brake pedal. The weight of the vehicle rolling onto the parking pawl makes it harder to shift out of Park. To avoid this, engage the parking brake when on an incline before shifting into Park or releasing the brake pedal. That way the parking brake, not the transmission pawl, bears the load.

Lease or Buy a New Car

unduhan-19Is leasing or buying the best way to finance your next car? It’s hard to give this a quick answer since there are so many trade-offs. However, if you take a closer look at your lifestyle, your needs and your preferences, you can reach a sound decision.

For example, if you need an upscale car for business, perhaps to entertain clients, leasing allows you to drive a luxury vehicle for less money. It might also provide a good tax write-off. However, if you don’t need the status of a new car and prefer to keep automotive costs as low as possible, the best choice would be to buy a new or used car and keep it for as long as it is reliable.

Ultimately, you can say good things about both buying and leasing. Your choice might be more of a combination of personal tastes and priorities than pure dollars and cents.

If you want to dive deeper into the economics of leasing and buying, use the Edmunds Auto Calculators to see what your lease payments would be and to compare the costs to buying a car.

Also, you can view sample calculations in this analysis of three common car financing scenarios: leasing, buying a new car and buying a used car.

Since everyone’s situation is different, here’s a list of the pros and cons of leasing and buying a car. Some of these points are financial factors and others relate to a person’s needs and lifestyle. Keep in mind that there isn’t always a perfect answer to the question of whether to lease or buy.

Advantages of Leasing:

  • Lower monthly payments with a low — or no — down payment.
  • You can drive a better car for less money.
  • Lower repair costs because you are always under the vehicle’s included factory warranty.
  • You can more easily transition to a new car every two or three years.
  • There are no trade-in hassles at the end of the lease.
  • You pay less sales tax.

Disadvantages of Leasing

  • You don’t own the car at the end of the lease (although there is always the option to buy).
  • Your mileage is typically limited to 12,000 miles a year (you can purchase extra).
  • Lease contracts can be confusing and filled with unfamiliar terminology.
  • In the long run, leasing is more expensive than buying a car and keeping it for years.
  • Excessive wear-and-tear charges can be a nasty surprise at the end of the lease.
  • It’s costly to terminate a lease early if your driving needs change.

Advantages of Car Buying

  • You can modify your car as you please.
  • Car buying is more economical over the long term.
  • You can drive as much as you like. There’s no excess mileage penalty.
  • You have more flexibility since you can sell the car whenever you want.