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A Cold Day In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy CA interstate but don’t worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown at the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Ventura rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot SUV.

A lot of Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers judge their vehicles’ air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keeps the SUV running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very pricey in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

Bakersfield drivers should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system’s components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing costly repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

Inadequate refrigerant indicates a leak in the air conditioning system. Over time, seals in the system can crack, causing the refrigerant to leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system. Replacing these seals will keep your SUV air conditioning system at its best, and, again, will help you avoid more expensive repairs.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we advise our Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your SUV owner’s manual or with your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service professional for information about how often your SUV air conditioning system should be serviced.

Another piece of good auto advice: if your SUV air conditioner isn’t working or is starting to show signs of breakdown, NOW is the time to get it fixed at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. Waiting will only increase the chances that you are in for major repairs and an expensive repair bill.

On a final note, if you own an older vehicle, you should check into upgrading the air conditioning system. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 often contained a refrigerant known as Freon. The manufacture of Freon was outlawed in 1993, leading to an ever-dwindling supply, which leads to an ever-steeper price for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners in CA. If your vehicle still uses Freon, you should have it retrofitted to use the new, EPA-approved R134A refrigerant. The retrofit will actually pay for itself by reducing the cost to recharge the refrigerant in your SUV.

Remember, preventive maintenance — of your entire car — will keep you on the road. And, in this case, it will help you keep your cool!

Maintaining Your Diesel in Ventura

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Ventura because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield because they get better gas mileage than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in CA as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Ventura, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners' dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Bakersfield people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Oxnard, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Ventura auto owners drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in CA. The better gas mileage of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Ventura. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in CA, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners depends now on the current price of fuel in CA and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Ventura area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in CA becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more pricey and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

Cool Running In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your SUV engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the highway in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield waiting for your SUV engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, your service advisor will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your SUV owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your Excellent service professional will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the SUV radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an automotive analysis regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your SUV cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your SUV cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service specialist will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you is always a good source for auto advice. We've been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield for 40 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Ventura repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in CA.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Most CA motorists know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it vital for Ventura motorists to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your SUV air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is an essential practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Ventura days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the automobile manufacturer’s recommendation.

Here’s a good piece of auto advice for CA car owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield weather.

Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your SUV; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the car maker if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.

So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your SUV, you should bring it to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield as soon as possible.

Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in Ventura and keep you on the road!

The Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Guide To Custom Wheels

If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your SUV, 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 Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers 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 SUV when they turn or go over a bump.

To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your SUV. 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 Ventura 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 Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.

The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your SUV are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason car owners should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. 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 SUV, 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 expensive 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 Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you 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 Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

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

Helping Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield Drivers Get the Right Tires

Every Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy CA roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Ventura temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in CA and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in CA, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second critical consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at CA tire stores. Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists who drive off-road around CA may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield streets and highways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield as a statement of style or to add personality to your SUV. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your SUV, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician for more information about tires.

Easy Miles


Have you ever noticed that your auto manufacturer has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the important parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Ventura are less than four miles, you should think about using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each SUV engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of CA highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why fuel economy ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners think of severe CA weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Ventura area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield weather is also dangerous for SUVs. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot CA weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another important element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield areas are harmful to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

Exhaust Service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you: Passing the Smell Test

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All CA folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your SUV passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Ventura roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your SUV exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your SUV engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your SUV healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the SUV, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your SUV owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners and their families.

Talk To Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you About New Shoes For Your Vehicle

Custom wheels are one way that Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield folks express themselves and personalize their SUV. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several vital factors need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the SUV, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require costly adjustments to your SUV suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping in Ventura or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your SUV. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your SUV. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your SUV tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you on a location nearest you can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your SUV. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tech by calling 866-779-8473.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your SUV engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more essential it becomes to have your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your SUV may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your SUV that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some income. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Oxnard drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Ventura? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on CA freeways? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as costly repairs down the road.

The Excellent auto professionals at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you want to remind Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

The Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

The team at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield and CA car owners are all talking gas mileage right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners can do? After all, some of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield folks can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield to Thousand Oaks. And that means buying more gas in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield and producing more emissions.

Of course, your SUV’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your SUV. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around CA? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Clean Air for Your Engine: A New Engine Air Filter at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

All of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers know we have to get the oil changed in our SUVs periodically. That’s just part of good car care. But when Ventura service specialists change your oil, they also usually inspect your air filter. That’s why they sometimes let you know that your air filter needs to be changed before releasing your SUV.

Don’t just chock this up to trying to sell you something else. Bakersfield drivers really do need to change their air filter when it gets dirty. You can check your owner’s manual to see how often your air filter should need to be changed, but remember, if you live in an area in CA with poor air quality, or if you drive a lot or drive under harsh conditions in the Ventura area, you may need to change that filter more often than is recommended.

Changing an air filter isn’t guesswork. If a filter’s dirty, it needs to be replaced. Air filters aren’t very costly at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. But the problems they cause if Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers don’t change them can get to be expensive.

For every gallon of gas your SUV burns, it needs 12,000 gallons of air. Clean filters allow better airflow into your engine, which means that your engine will get more air more quickly. That means your SUV engine runs more efficiently.

Dirty air filters cut airflow to your engine. All the debris in the filter clogs up the spaces the air needs to pass through to get to the engine. This dirty air can damage expensive electronic components.

If you are in tune with your SUV, you’ll notice a difference when you change a really dirty air filter for a clean one. Your SUV may actually purr for you again. Its performance improves when it has a new, clean filter. So remember, changing your air filter is one of the most vital elements of preventive maintenance. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, it’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it’s important.

Gear Up: Transmission Service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds. Five or six is common. Some automobile manufacturers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists: it improves fuel economy and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.

That’s why changing transmission fluid is such a critical part of preventive maintenance for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer costly damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing pricey transmission repairs.

Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield is a lot like buying shoes, except that Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers' vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of CA road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Ventura area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough CA mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Ventura area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Ventura are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the CA tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield folks get what they pay for.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a "60-thousand mile tire." This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Ventura drivers.

So, some good auto advice for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.

Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

Super Slick at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield: Synthetic Oil

When you get an oil change, it’s always a safe bet to just use the type of oil the auto maker recommends. But sometimes we’re asked if we’d like conventional or synthetic motor oil. We glance at the price tags on the two options and choose the cheaper one. But in this case, the more expensive oil might be the better bargain for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists.

Conventional oil is made from petroleum. Its molecules form long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil is either more highly refined petroleum or completely man-made. Its molecules are more uniform. This provides important advantages over conventional motor oil.

First of all, the molecular structure of synthetic motor oil makes it more slippery than conventional oil so it lubricates better. This translates to better wear protection for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners, cooler operating temperatures, more engine power and increased fuel efficiency.

Further, synthetic oil is more heat-resistant than conventional oil, and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It provides better protection for severe conditions like stop-and-go driving around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield and very hot or freezing CA temperatures.

Also, synthetic oil doesn’t generate dangerous oil sludge like conventional oil. This prevents small engine passageways from becoming clogged, which can significantly extend the working life of your SUV engine.

Manufacturers are aware of the advantages of synthetic oil, and many of them are using it to fill their SUVs before delivering them to be sold. Many vehicle manufacturer's owner’s manuals now come with the recommendation to use only synthetic oil. Because synthetic oil wears better and protects better than conventional motor oil, it can be changed less often. If your SUV came with a recommendation for synthetic oil, you may have noticed that the recommended period between oil changes is longer than what you’re used to. However, if you switch to conventional oil, you need to be aware that you can’t follow this longer service interval. You’ll have to change your oil more often.

On the other hand, if you are using conventional oil and you switch to synthetic oil, you may be able to lengthen the time between oil changes. You can communicate with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service specialist. He can offer you good auto advice about oils and service intervals based on your driving habits and requirements.

Oil changes are the hallmark of vital preventive maintenance at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. All Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners need them. So we should get excited about a product that reduces how often we need them. Synthetic oil is more pricey, yes, but it can pay for itself by lasting longer than conventional oil. And when you add in the hidden savings of an extended engine life and improved fuel efficiency, not to mention increased engine power, there’s a good chance that synthetic oil actually saves in the long run. All Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners pay for car care. But understanding what we’re paying for can make us more savvy shoppers.

A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners remember to get our oil changed. But Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is a critical part of car care for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists. A poorly maintained transmission will reduce gas mileage and lead to pricey repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well - lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your gas mileage will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists.

The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of detrimental grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this essential service. Or, you can meet with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service specialist. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your SUV may be shorter or longer.

Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto manufacturer recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty CA conditions, if you tow a trailer around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Ventura driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.

Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your SUV needs, or communicate with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly costly. Compared to the cost of pricey transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved fuel economy and a longer, smoother ride.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Engine Air Filter Replacement

When your experienced Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tech technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn’t need a new filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your service professional’s auto advice if they tell you to change your filter. It’s not costly, and it makes a big difference to your SUV.

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 SUV engine with the air. 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 Ventura air. This doesn’t allow the junk into the SUV engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.

An engine needs about 12,000 gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gasoline. Think of a runner. If he is breathing well, he can run well. But if he has a lung condition, he won’t be able to generate the oxygen necessary to keep his cells powered up. He won’t be able to run at peak efficiency.

Or consider a vacuum cleaner. Even without the light, you can tell when the vacuum bag is full because the machine just doesn’t clean anymore. Change the bag and its efficiency immediately improves.

So keep your SUV breathing well by keeping its air filter clean. That’s good car care.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service specialist. 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 least costly and simplest elements of critical routine preventive maintenance – and protects against damage to expensive SUV electronic systems. No Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield resident should have an excuse to drive around Ventura roads and highways with a dirty air filter.


Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most car makers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.

Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like CA. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.

There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it.

But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we’re going to see more of these vehicles in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield is that they’re more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% more miles per gallon.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That’s also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth and quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield roads.

Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.

Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in CA. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean. They will soon be available for
Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle, should know that important preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.

When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you’ll have to learn some new rules of car care. But you won’t be alone. Most
Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel powered vehicles.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Service For Your Exhaust System

Your SUV’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your SUV. Maintaining it is good Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you auto advice for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Ventura area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most auto makers recommend that you have your SUV exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified service advisor at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the SUV 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 that Ventura auto owners 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. So it is essential that exhaust pipes get a diagnostic examination regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next vital component of your SUV 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 CA. Call Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you at 866-779-8473 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 SUV engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your SUV exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your SUV 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 essential for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your SUV by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The important 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 pricey damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last vital piece in the exhaust system — and of your SUV, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your SUV through the tailpipe.

If your SUV has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your SUV to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your SUV exhaust system 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.

Straight And True In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield: Wheel Alignment

Most Ventura folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more costly than an alignment check in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Ventura.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your SUV. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the SUV may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your SUV can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Bakersfield driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your SUV, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service professional can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider a diagnostic examination more often. Ask your Excellent service professional for a recommendation.

If your SUV is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your SUV pulls to one side when you drive around Ventura. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get a diagnostic examination, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Oxnard car owners, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Blind Spot Safety For Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield Driving

Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Ventura drivers' blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the SUV. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the SUV for a few minutes before backing up, it is important to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Bakersfield roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in CA, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners learned to properly share CA roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is essential to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane CA highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is vital to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your SUV turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield body shops because the auto owners thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Ventura area roads and highways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car care. Keeping your SUV out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

Hello Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious SUV engine trouble. That’s why Ventura car owners often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at CA expressway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result expensive repair bills for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Bakersfield drivers. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your SUV in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto repair center center or Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the SUV engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the SUV engine’s computer. Your technician scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service specialist exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your SUV’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific SUV engine, for driving conditions in your Oxnard area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Ventura mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your SUV out of your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.


Hello Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is a costly repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday CA driving. Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal Ventura freeways and surface streets can gradually put your SUV tires out of alignment.

So it’s good auto advice to have your SUV's alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your SUV tires might be out of alignment, you should take your SUV into Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you now.

When you take your SUV in for an alignment in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be corrected in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the SUV will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of critical adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in Ventura. Drive safely.

Smart Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield Drivers Protect Against Overheating

Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists to prevent.

The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine, and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fins on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again.

The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage.

Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner’s manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well.

Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.

This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don’t realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

If your SUV sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs an automotive analysis. This service is critical and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high.

In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your SUV so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, owner’s manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns.

Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center or Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks, and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in the first place and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Regular maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system is just good auto advice for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.

Talk to your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician for more information.

Shake It Up in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield!: Why Wheel Balancing

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your SUV — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the harmful vibration. When Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners' tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield can prevent costly repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your SUV as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel economy. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your SUV. Balancing your tires is part of key preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some expensive ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers' nerves.

A New Battery In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Hello Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, here’s some auto advice to help you.

There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.

The Ventura weather also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the SUV engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold CA weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.

So if you live in a cold climate, or in an area in CA where winters can get really chilly, it is important to have a battery with more cold cranking amps than if you live in a more mild or warmer climate.

The battery that was installed in your SUV at the factory may not have the appropriate number of cold cranking amps for your area. It is critical to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and get at least that number of cold cranking amps, but you may want to upgrade if you live in a colder climate.

Reserve capacity is the number of minutes your battery can maintain essential functions in your SUV without being recharged. There are two things that affect reserve capacity. The first is referred to as parasitic drain. Your SUV has power systems that must be kept running while the engine is off. These may include the security system, the remote start systems, and any computer systems. The number and power requirements of these systems has greatly increased over the last few decades. As a result, the need for reserve capacity in vehicles’ batteries has also increased. Very short trips around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield and Thousand Oaks do not allow a vehicle’s battery to recover the energy that was used to start the car. So these trips require reserve capacity as well.

Again, the reserve capacity in the battery installed at the factory may not be what you need for your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield lifestyle and driving habits. Again, use the manufacturer’s recommendation as a minimum, but consider upgrading if your SUV has a lot of parasitic power drain or if you frequently make very short trips around Ventura.

Your Excellent service professional at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your SUV. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it’s a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.

Car batteries aren’t cheap in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, so you may want to consider the warranty when purchasing. Pro-rated warranties will give you credit for a portion of the battery if the battery fails during the warranty period. The amount of credit will depend on how long the battery lasted. A free replacement warranty will replace your battery if it fails during the warranty period. Before you purchase a battery, make sure you know what you are buying.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance and good car care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits is essential and can help you get the most out of your battery.

How Much is Enough for Ventura Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Most Ventura drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are costly and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s key for Ventura motorists to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s vital to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with CA auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Ventura freeway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in CA and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are an expensive item for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Advice On Buying New Tires

Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all CA seasons.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at CA tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some critical adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the SUV. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your SUV with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your SUV on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield a lot longer.

Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

A lot of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for CA motorists to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are important factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s vital for CA auto owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is vital because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as dangerous safety concerns.

Your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many CA auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few critical adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Ventura, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from expensive damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around CA, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician review to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of key preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to inspect their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also diminish your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Ventura. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

A lot of people get custom wheels in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your SUV, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your SUV anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your SUV engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in CA. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your SUV. Your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

The Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Guide To Caring For Your Transmission

Most cars and trucks have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Thousand Oaks car owners only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Thousand Oaks. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there’s an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you’re doing.

Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That’s what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on CA freeways. And automatically shifts back down to climb Thousand Oaks hills, pass or start up again.

SUV automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we routinely service transmissions with six speeds and several have seven or even eight speeds. As you can imagine, this means more parts. Any they all have to fit into roughly the same space.

Transmissions are computer controlled these days, with some high end transmissions having two or three computers. Transmissions are engineered to last. But they are also engineered to tighter tolerances. If a portion of the transmission is starved for lubrication, it can lead to failure.

Not enough fluid can starve the transmission or dirty transmission fluid can clog small passages in the transmission, then the lubricant is blocked and can’t get to all the parts to protect them, so they wear out prematurely. The technicians at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you see far too many transmissions that needlessly failed due to neglect.

And, as you can imagine, repairing one of these new transmissions at any Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center can be quite costly. That’s why auto manufacturers have a schedule for how often you should change the fluid and what type of fluid to use.

It’s really important for Thousand Oaks motorists to carefully follow the manufacturer’s transmission service schedule.

At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, we hope you never become shiftless in Thousand Oaks because you didn’t take care of your transmission.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you fuel system cleaning: Over time, the SUV fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you inspections: Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for CA summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used SUV and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you oil change: – there are several options: Some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you PCV valve replacement in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you power steering service: Often overlooked. Your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the SUV system running well for a long time.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the SUV engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?


The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause vital engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at CA highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor to get it checked out.

Some more Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the SUV's Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your SUV looked at. Your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service specialist will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

Automotive Detective Work In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

There’s a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield. Figuring out what’s wrong with your SUV has a lot of similarities to figuring out what’s wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

Sometimes the diagnosis of your SUV’s trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield doctor’s office — some of what you pay for is the doctor’s time and effort to figure out what’s wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

The good news is that Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners can do a lot to help out their Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service professional in figuring out what’s wrong with their SUV. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

Good auto advice: learn how to talk to your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service professional.

If fluid is leaking from your SUV, you should note the color of the fluid, where under the car the puddles form, and when they form (e.g. only when it’s parked for a while, only if the engine’s hot, when the weather turns cold, etc.). For example, if your SUV is making an unusual sound, you should indicate where the sound is coming from, what kind of sound it is, and when you hear it (again, be very specific). The more details you can give, the more helpful you will be. “I hear the sound when I turn left” is more helpful than “I hear the sound when I turn.” After a few conversations with your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you tech, you should get a feel for the kind of information he needs.

If you drop your car off, leave a detailed note describing information about your SUV’s problem. A quickly scrawled “Making a funny noise” will only lead to frustration for both your technician and for you. Good communication leads to better car care for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners.

If your SUV is occasionally stalling or sputtering, you may need a little more patience than with other types of car trouble because these types of problems are intermittent. In order to fix the trouble, your technician often finds it helpful to reproduce the symptoms. And if the problem is intermittent, it may take a while to do so.

In these cases, specific information can be invaluable, as it can significantly reduce the time it takes for your Excellent service professional to get your SUV to misbehave. For example, if you can tell your technician that the vehicle only acts up after it’s been driven for 20 minutes and over 50 mph, it will allow him to quickly reproduce your problem, greatly reducing the time it will take for a car diagnosis in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield and then get it repaired.

Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of the Ventura repair shop, but if you need to get it repaired, good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers' current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It’s key for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners to always use the right type of fluid for their SUV. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s key to know exactly which one your SUV needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among auto makers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your SUV needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your SUV is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners still need them to be highly durable.

That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, essential function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your SUV has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and vital additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. CA vehicle owners should take care to learn their SUV’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our SUVs become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield.

Emergency Items For Ventura motorists

Safe CA travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. But there are other things Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some key items you should carry in your SUV include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your SUV is only part of emergency preparedness. It is important to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in CA and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other vital items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy CA season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your CA area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your SUV for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.

When you travel, it is vital to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you want Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield Drivers

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your SUV engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the SUV engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional SUV engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield DriversWhy the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the SUV engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the SUV engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization. Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield motorists should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers will enjoy better fuel efficiency and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.

Clean Fuel

Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the SUV engine.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better your SUV engine will run.

Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your SUV ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

Clean Fuel – Clean Performance for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield DriversThe harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your owner’s manual to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor can help you with recommended fuel filter replacement schedules.

If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your SUV engine will sputter when you drive at highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners take note: A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.

Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.

That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice.

Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to costly repair bills for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.

Good car care means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. It may save Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car owners money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay them in improved fuel efficiency, safety and peace of mind.

Fuel System Cleaning at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you for Better Performance

Hi Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers. Let's talk fuel injectors. A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline SUV engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Fuel System Cleaning at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you for Better PerformanceVehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine. Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency and loss of engine performance for Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers.

So it’s to Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers' advantage to keep their fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers than do bargain Ventura area service stations.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield drivers should check their owner’s manual to find out how often they should change their fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle between Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, Thousand Oaks and Oxnard , your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use. If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield that will result in better fuel efficiency and improved vehicle performance.

Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

Differential Service At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you: Vive ala Difference

Every SUV on CA interstates has a differential, and it is vital to the proper operation of the vehicle, but most Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield auto owners don’t have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the SUV must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Differential Service At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you: Vive ala Difference Have you ever seen the large bugle-shaped object in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That’s the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You’d be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the vital job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don’t want your differential to seize up. That results in expensive damage to your SUV.

So you need to have your SUV differential serviced regularly. It’s not a complicated job. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield we've been servicing differentials for 40 years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center will ensure you are getting what your SUV needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual or Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you to find out how often your SUV differential needs to be serviced.

Generally, however, front-wheel drive vehicles need their differential serviced more often than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Also, if you spend a lot of time off-road or on Ventura area dirt or gravel roads, or if you drive through water, you will need to service your differential more often than the standard recommendation – check with your Excellent Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service professional.

Preventive maintenance for your differential is good car care that can spare you expensive repair bills. Knowing what your differential is and how it operates is vital and will help you understand why this is good auto advice. Remember, take care of your SUV, and it will take care of you.

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Thousand Oaks can cause your SUV's wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Thousand Oaks when you’re out of alignment causes your SUV's tires to wear unevenly and excessively – perhaps causing you to have to replace tires years too early or even lead to a blowout: Dangerous … and expensive. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.

Here are some alignment basics:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your SUV was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then the Thousand Oaks technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the SUV is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to SUV manufacturer’s specifications.

Your SUV owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

Battery Replacement At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

Hello, welcome to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. Today's topic is batteries. It seems like everything in Oxnard runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you are those in our vehicles. Car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Oxnard drivers should know when looking for a new battery.

There are two measurements that come into play: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. Battery Replacement At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live, specifically how cold it is where you live. The two factors are that the colder your SUV's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold. We even have a table. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit out. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.

As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.

Percent of Power Available Celsius Fahrenheit Power Required  
100 27 80 100  
65 0 32 155  
40 -22 0 210  
25 -32 20 350  

So if you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with the vehicle was based on averages. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we like to remind Oxnard auto owners that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer recommends, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel SUVs require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Oxnard drivers these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your SUV. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Oxnard. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you and upgrade if you need more.

Talk with us at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your SUV: the terminals can’t be touching other parts and stuff.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Oxnard motorists, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.

Hitting The Brakes In Bakersfield

Hello Bakersfield, let's talk about brakes. Braking, as all Bakersfield drivers know, is slowing or stopping a vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around Bakersfield.

Hitting The Brakes In BakersfieldBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new SUV or truck rolls off a local Bakersfield dealer showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the SUV. We tend to focus on the brake pads. In the business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of spec that they lose stopping effectiveness.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail. That’s why a regular brake inspection is important for your SUV. At Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the SUV fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system deteriorate the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the SUV to the road. The stopping force is ultimately dependent on the traction provided by the tires. The better they grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Bakersfield roads. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. Bakersfield drivers need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

PCV Valve Replacement

The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up, eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure build up would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Gasoline engines used to simply have a hose that let the poisonous fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation, or PCV, valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It's really a pretty simple system, but does an important job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil, but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing oil leaks.

Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up. Then it can not move enough air through the engine to keep it working efficiently. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation or surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV value problems. Your owners' manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced - usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don't list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.

Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed with a visual inspection. Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he's talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you've ever heard of a PCV value, ask your tech to check yours out or call Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you at 866-779-8473.

Winter Tires

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of the public's perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. We called them snow tires back then and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren't very good on ice, packed snow or wet roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. You couldn't wait to get them off in the spring.

Then all-season tires started to come along. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life, and you can get through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don't provide the road grip you need. Even if you don't live somewhere with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45 degrees in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That's the key to traction on ice, packed snow and wet roads. They use a micro-pore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow's surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that's the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, you just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there's a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it's going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That's why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It's a major safety concern. It's strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work - it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

People often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don't need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn't, but that's essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It's that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so people may think that they don't need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. All-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance in snow, packed snow, ice, wet and dry roads. Your tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.

Severe Service Requirements

A lot of our viewers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners' manual. It can be confusing. Let's clear the air on this subject. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for 20 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer. Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owners' manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service'. Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time.

Manufacturers create these specific schedules for each vehicle they make. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners' manual, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield automotive repair centers subscribe to information services that provide the maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help you know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles
  • Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive in very hot weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the highway)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You operate your vehicle in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier

It's common sense: Just a few minutes at freeway speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to breakdown more quickly. Dusty and muddy driving means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving. Look at your owners' manual, or talk with your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you is located at a location nearest you, Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield CA.,

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science.

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly CA highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some people just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you Radiator Service

The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common, it is easy to prevent.

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The most recognizable part of the coolant system is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and then goes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it's back to the engine again.

There are several ways for the cooling system to fail. Most common is with the coolant itself. Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. The proper mixture keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing. Both of which can result in massive engine damage.

Another very important coolant issue that is often overlooked is the age of the coolant itself. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can't protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling and corrosion. Old coolant may still keep your engine cool, but it won't protect it from corrosion.

If you see a warning message to check the coolant or if the temperature gauge is in the hot zone your cooling system needs to be checked. It's OK to add water or antifreeze yourself. But you need to be cautious. Remember four things.

  • First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
  • Second, try to get to your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owners manual - it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
  • Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service center where we can make necessary corrections.
  • Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to rely on your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service center in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield to do things right.

Remember, your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively.

Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.”

That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems.

Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you right away. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked.

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle.

Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your car. Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced.

If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only expensive, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid actives the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends to avoid these problems.

There are different grades of brake pads; good, better and best. Higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the manufacturer recommends.

So, be sure to properly maintain your brakes, because it’s a lot cheaper than paying the body shop after an accident.

Come in to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 866-779-8473.

Suspension Service In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield CA

When you hear the word 'suspension', you may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride. It needs to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the car’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service.

Here are some warning signs that your suspension may have problems:

  • the car pulls to one side;
  • it wanders;
  • the steering is erratic;
  • you see uneven tire wear;
  • you experience a poor ride or handling;
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

. . . You just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your service advisor at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you can oversee an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield or even a large rock can mess things up. With a minor accident it’s tempting to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s some damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems should be fixed immediately because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage is potholes – those nasty magnets that seem to draw our tires right into them. Well, Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But don’t brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

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What To Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

So you’ve bought a used car in the Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield area. How do you know what you’re getting? It is hard to know what you’re getting because people in the Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield area sell cars for different reasons. Think about why you’ve sold cars. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from. Maybe it was a little of both.

Used cars with 25,000 to 35,000 miles on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or vehicles that have done duty in rental fleets. We feel pretty confident because they’re newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?

If you plan on owning a car for a long time, you’ll keep up on the maintenance so that you can avoid expensive repairs down the road. But, if you know you’re only going to have the car for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn’t ruin a brand new engine. Then it’ll be someone else’s problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.

It would be very tempting to skip the 30,000 mile service if you knew you’d be turning in your leased vehicle in a couple of months.

If the vehicle didn’t come with maintenance records, you need to assume the worst. Most likely the coolant system and transmission have never been serviced. The cabin air filter has probably not been changed and a fuel system cleaning may be in order.

You’ll want Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you to check the air conditioning, battery, engine air filter, serpentine belt and hoses. An inspection at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you is well worth the cost.

And if your “new” used vehicle has more miles on it, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner’s manual or talk with your service advisor at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you (call 866-779-8473) about what should have been done. Please don’t forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.

Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you will help you with a plan to take care of critical services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won’t allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They’ll help you get top dollar when it’s time for you to sell.

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Trip Inspection

North Americans love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than the road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

Now you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle’s perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding byways or super-highways? Mountains or plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How many miles will you travel? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage? Lugging a trailer or roof top carrier? Will it be dusty?

Armed with the answers to these questions, you can start a trip inspection to help you prepare your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield customers prefer to go through this exercise with an automotive service advisor at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you to get their input and make sure they haven’t left anything out.

A great place to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job – you wouldn’t want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure.

Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you’ll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that’s pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous.

And don’t forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection before you leave.

Moving under the hood, have your belts and hoses inspected. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Your engine air filter will be important. For every gallon of gas you burn, your car will filter and use 12,000 gallons of air. If the filter needs to be changed, you’ll notice the fuel savings on your trip.

How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it’s due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don’t need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.

Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it’s an exhaust leak it could be fatal on a long trip. Of course you’ll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren’t getting the cold air you used to.

Are you wiper blades still working well? If not, that is quick and inexpensive to fix. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven’t changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip.

They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?

Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

We would like to give you an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday - and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CA car owners rely on the advice of their service consultant to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and the way they drive.

Let's start with engine oil. If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. Manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends - and it's important to follow those recommendations. A service adviser at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can explain conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only called for a couple of different types of coolant. Now there are several different formulations that are needed because of the different materials that manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.

Transmission fluid is beginning to be specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that mandate the use of specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, your Ventura service center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you'll get the right fluids your car needs. It's all part of the commitment your service center makes to your driving peace of mind.

Cabin Air Filter From Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you

What is a cabin air filter?

Is it:

  1. A filter for a house in the middle of the woods?
  2. A fresh, piney scent?
  3. A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?

Clever you, it's 3.

A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment. It filters out dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, sparrows, exhaust gas and odors.

These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

Now not all vehicles have cabin filters. They are fairly new on the scene. About forty percent of new vehicles come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.

Cabin air filters can make for a very nice driving environment. Your car can be a haven during allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. However, the filter eventually gets clogged. When this happens, your heating and air conditioning flow can become restricted. The filter can even get kind of smelly.

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Check your owner's manual for recommended replacement intervals. Often, the owner's manual forgets about the cabin air filter, so ask your service technician for a recommendation. It's usually every year or 12,000 miles/ 19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty conditions or if you start to notice an odor from your ventilation system.

So keep your cabin air filter clean. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience more enjoyable.

Power Steering Service Near Ventura

For most of us living in the Ventura area, it is hard to remember life without power steering - cranking those great big steering wheels? It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine - a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.

These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea to inspect them at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owners' manual for the right type - or just ask your service technician at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you.

The fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so it needs to be replaced from time to time. Many manufacturers specify power steering service intervals. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule for many of us in Ventura. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 miles/40,000 km or two years is a good fallback. Your Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you service center in Ventura will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.

Here are some warning signs of trouble with your power steering: It's harder to turn the wheel, there's erratic power assist, you hear loud whining coming from the pump (which may be difficult to hear over the loud whining coming from the backseat), you have to top-off the fluid frequently, or you hear squealing belts. Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your power steering pump real fast.

Other steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks. Ball-joint, idler-arm, steering-gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod to name a few. Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear, and off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you will reveal bent or damaged steering components.

Most SUV's, pick-ups and rear-wheel-drive cars need regular front-wheel-bearing service.

The bearings should be cleaned and inspected. If they are excessively worn, they need to be replaced. The bearings are then repacked in clean grease. It's also recommend the wheel-seal be replaced when the bearings are serviced. Like everything else, check your owners' manual maintenance schedule. It's usually required around every two years or 40,000 miles/64,000 km. If you drive through water in the Ventura area, the bearings will need service more often.

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Air Conditioning Service In Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield

Hey Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield, CA Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked. It's real easy to take your car's air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool.

When most people in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield hear the words "air conditioning problems", it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it's broken, it's expensive to repair.

What things can we do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?

A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water and air can leak into the system. The system doesn't work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also, refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to cool the air. Periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.

You should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in a frosty Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out, which leads to leaks. Your owner's manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Of course, if it's not working right, now is the time to get it checked. Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This goes a long way to avoiding having to bring your air conditioner in for major repairs.

New environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon so the price is very steep. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older vehicle that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new R134-A refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run. So, if your AC is just a lot of hot air, bring it in to Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you for an inspection.

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Differential Service

Here at AutoNetTV, we have viewers, like you, from all across the country who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we're asked is: What is a differential and what does it do? You may have been told your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service covers a lot of things, so let's first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track - the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don't hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels - which is why they're often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.

All vehicles have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is often called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back - and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Ventura automotive service advisor can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.

As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions, you will want to service your differential more frequently. "Severe service" conditions are defined in most owners' manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold weather, hot weather and towing. All these conditions add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in CA can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit for more information.

Fuel Injectors

The last new car sold with a carburetor in North America rolled out of the dealership in 1990. Since then, all new vehicles have had fuel injectors. In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much gas to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute. Fuel injection is a much more precise way of delivering fuel than carburetors. That translates into better fuel economy and power. Virtually all fuel injectors for gas engines are known as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. Port fuel injectors operate at about 40 to 80 pounds per square inch of pressure.

A few auto makers have introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines recently. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure - hundreds of times the pressure of port injection systems. Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy, so we can expect to see more of it in the future.

As you can see, the level of precision required of your fuel injectors is very high. They need to be operating properly in order for your car to run right.

High temperatures under your hood and variations in gas quality cause fuel injectors to become fouled with wax, dirt, and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure. The design of each engine requires a specific spray pattern from the fuel injector that might be altered when the injector is dirty. When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it is important to keep your fuel injectors clean.

Skilled service technicians at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you in Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield can perform a fuel system service for you. (Visit That is a fuel system service - not just fuel injector cleaning. That is because the fuel has a lot of ways to become dirty or contaminated between the gas tank and the fuel injector. A fuel system service starts with a fuel filter replacement. This filter cleans the gas as it leaves the tank. The various parts of the fuel intake system need to be cleaned from time to time to remove harmful gum, deposits and varnish. Finally, the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Your Bakersfield area service center uses a process for cleaning your fuel system that includes state-of-the-art cleaning chemicals as well as some old fashioned scrubbing. Proper maintenance of your fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Exhaust Service

Whenever we talk about exhaust service, most people normally think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. Well, actually, exhaust service is a lot more comprehensive these days. For example, catalytic converters were mandated in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Governmental emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations.

Exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer controlled emissions devices are now a big part of exhaust service. Because it is so sophisticated, your vehicle manufacturer recommends you have your emission system checked out by a qualified Camarillo, Ventura, Bakersfield exhaust technician regularly to make sure everything is working right - usually every 6 months or 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers.

If your Check Engine light comes on, especially if it's flashing, get your car looked at right away. Technicians at Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you handle emission problems everyday. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is difficult to start, runs rough, is noisy or smoking. Call Big Brand Tire & Service nearest you at 866-779-8473 to schedule an appointment if you experience these problems.

Let's review the exhaust system. We will start from the top and start with the exhaust manifold. That is the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and various other joints along the way. If the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, dangerous gases could escape into the passenger compartment, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it is important that your exhaust system doesn't leak. The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next is the catalytic converter. This part looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health and the environment into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It doesn't require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. You will find this out when your car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car's sound with different mufflers - anything from whisper quiet to bad-boy rumbley. Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can leak and need to be replaced right away.

The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps. These fasteners hold the system in place. When hangers come loose or break, hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines.

Finally, we end at the tailpipe. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. These can be plain-Jane or pretty flashy. Also, the oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

Exhaust and emissions service covers plain old pipes and high-tech computers. It impacts everything from life and death safety due to exhaust leaks, to fine-tuning the sound of your ride.