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Tires. Wheels. Potato, patato? Actually they are two totally different, yet interdependent parts of your vehicle. In this article, we’ll give you a basic understanding of both.

TIRES – WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

You wouldn’t be going anywhere without your tires now would you? It’s at least a little obvious they support the weight of your ride and keep you in contact with the road. Beyond basic functionality, passenger and light truck tires do have a little something going on.

There are two kinds, radial and bias ply:

  • Radial tires are the most common for passenger and light truck vehicles;
  • Radial tires have high speed capacity, longer tread life, lower rolling resistance and offer a smoother, quiet ride;
  • Bias Ply tires are strong, but not practical for standard commuting. They are sturdy, so you might use them on a farm truck, trailer, or if you plan to go mud bogging with your four-wheel-drive vehicle.

WHEELS – MORE THAN JUST GOOD LOOKS

Another common term for the wheel is rim. Same, same.

Wheels are constructed from steel or aluminum alloy. Steel wheels come in a very basic design and are painted either silver or black. Aluminum wheels come in a wide variety of designs, paint finishes and sizes. The benefits of aluminum include lighter weight, stronger design (don’t bend as easily as steel upon road hazard impact), no rust, and of course a plethora of style options.

Like tires, wheels also contribute to your overall comfort and performance. When choosing a new wheel for aesthetic purposes, you must also consider ride comfort and performance. By upsizing the diameter of your wheel, you will lose sidewall height of your tire making for a stiffer ride (you may feel more of the bumps). One of the benefits of upsizing your wheel and tire package may be improved handling (less tire roll). As always a trained Kal Tire technician would be happy to answer your questions and help you find the best fit for your ride.

We should mention changing or upsizing your wheels remains one of the most cost effective ways to personalize your vehicle. Now that spring has sprung t’s time to put away those boring old winter tires and rims. Why not spiff things up a bit as we head into warmer weather? Check out the following links for great ideas and information to upgrade your wheels.

The flap, flap, flap sound is unmistakable: You’ve got a flat tire. Or perhaps just as you’re getting ready to leave for work in the morning, you notice one of your tires is drooping. However it happens, you’re probably thinking, now what? Can you drive a flat tire?

Here’s the short answer: No.

Unless you happened to get your flat tire in the parking lot of a tire service centre or a gas station with an air pump, no. When you get a flat tire, there are only a few choices. You can use an emergency inflator kit (if the tire has a slow leak), put the spare on or call for a tow. REMEMBER: always get to a safe location before changing the tire, using your remote inflator or calling for a tow, even if you have to drive on the flat for a short distance.

If you don’t have roadside assistance or you don’t know how to change a tire, it might be tempting to see if you can inch along to the nearest service centre, but it’ll pay off in the long run if you don’t drive a flat tire, and here’s why:

4 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T DRIVE ON A FLAT TIRE

1. YOU COULD DAMAGE THE TIRE BEYOND REPAIR

Tire manufacturers recommend replacing a tire that is flat or damaged with the spare, and to visit a tire service centre right away. If there is no air or not enough air in the tire (which is needed to support the weight of your vehicle), it can cause ‘internal structural damage,’ meaning the material inside the tire can get damaged beyond repair, while the external problem—that little screw or nail in the tread—could have been repaired.

If the flat was caused by a puncture to the tread of up to ¼” in diameter, according to industry guidelines, it can generally be repaired. For passenger tires, large cuts, sidewall punctures and tires with internal damage generally need to be replaced, and you can only see internal damage after the tire has been dismounted.

2. YOU COULD DAMAGE THE RIMS

Driving a flat tire that’s completely underinflated means you’re driving on your rims, which means you’re probably bending or totally damaging your rims.

3. YOU COULD DAMAGE YOUR VEHICLE

Driving on a seriously degraded flat tire for a long period can actually cause a fair extent of damage to your vehicle. As the tire itself brakes apart, separates from the rim and begins to flail around the tire wheel, important (and expensive) components such as brake lines, rotors, fenders and suspension parts are apt to get seriously damaged.

4. YOU COULD LOSE CONTROL AND SERIOUSLY HURT YOURSELF OR OTHERS

If the first three reasons don’t grab you, hopefully this one will. Tire failure can lead to unsafe handling and even loss of vehicle control. Damage to brake lines or suspension components can also cause erratic vehicle behaviour. Both of which could lead to an accident.

Comments | Posted in Car Safety Tips By Blogger

It usually happens in one of two scenarios: You walk out to your car in the morning, open the door and spot it—your tire sagging on the ground. Or, you’re driving and you notice the flap, flap sound of an airless tire. When you discover you have a flat tire, what you do next is critical to ensuring your safety.

IF YOU NOTICE A FLAT TIRE WHEN YOUR CAR IS PARKED

While getting a flat tire is never convenient, you can be glad you won’t have to deal with the extra stress of what to do if you have a flat tire when you’re driving.

Inspect it

Gently run your hands along the back and front of the tire to see if you can spot any foreign objects such as a nail or an industrial staple in the tread or sidewall. If you can’t see anything, your tire might just be low on air.

Put on your spare tire

Either way, it’s best not to patch it yourself. Just get your spare on and drive to a service centre for repair because you can do more damage to the tire’s casing and integrity.

Once you have your spare tire on, bring the flat tire to a Kal Tire location near you. As a retail customer, if you bought your tire with us and your tire is fixable, our Customer Care Plan will let us fix it for free.

Check out our post How to Change a Tire for help with getting that spare on.

IF YOU NOTICE A FLAT TIRE WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING

If you don’t hear your tire going flat, you’re going to feel it. When you have a flat tire and you’re driving, it’ll feel like your vehicle is being pulled to the side of the flat tire, and it’ll feel like you can’t accelerate.

Safely pull over

Get as far to the edge of the road as you can, hopefully in a shoulder area with a bit of extra space. It’s important to give yourself as much room as possible so you’re not at risk of being hit by passing vehicles. If you have safety cones, set them down behind your vehicle to give other drivers an extra warning.

Put on your spare tire

No matter what, don’t drive on that tire. Get your spare on using our handy guide to changing a tire.

If the cause of your flat tire was a puncture, we can probably repair it by patching and plugging it. If the flat was caused by something else, that tire will likely need to be replaced. At Kal Tire, we’ll help you find the right tire and get you back on the road as soon as we can.

Comments | Posted in Car Safety Tips By Blogger

Some drivers describe it as their vehicle pulling or drifting to one side like it has a mind of its own. Often it’s a subtle tug, but it’s enough to let you know something is definitely wrong with your steering components or your vehicle’s alignment.

WHY IS YOUR CAR PULLING OR DRIFTING?

Generally, there are two reasons why vehicles begin to pull to one side:

1. MISALIGNMENT

When your vehicle is aligned, it’s parallel to the road and you enjoy optimum control, handling and comfort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to knock your vehicle out of alignment. Hitting potholes and curbs, and even everyday driving over time can lead to misalignment—and your vehicle pulling to one side.

Learn more in our post Why Is Vehicle Alignment So Important?

2. WORN STEERING COMPONENTS SUCH AS TIE RODS AND BALL JOINTS

If you’re driving down a straight road and your vehicle really pulls to the right or left, there’s a good chance the cause is more than a misalignment.

In this case, you may have worn tie rods and ball joints.

Your vehicle’s steering system uses tie rods—and the ball joints that connect them to your wheels—to turn your wheels in the direction you want to go. Over time, and in the absence of regular inspections, these components can become loose or worn.

What can happen if you let a steering or alignment issue go unrepaired?

  • Compromised steering. The pulling and drifting, and lack of steering control, can get worse over time.
  • The risk of the wheels separating from the vehicle, in the case of loose tie rods and ball joints. This could be you and the people in vehicles around you in serious danger.

Of course, as soon as you notice your car pulling or drifting, be sure to bring it in to a service centre for a professional inspection.

How can you help avoid your car pulling from misalignment or damaged tie rods and ball joints?

No one wants to risk losing steering control or risking wheel separation. To help avoid even getting to the stage where your car is pulling, have a front-end inspection performed on your vehicle annually. Within just two inspection points, a service technician will be able to see if there’s a potential problem with your tie rods and ball joints, and a computerized alignment check will point to any alignment issues.

It’s worth noting that if you have both a misalignment and loose tie rods and ball joints, you’ll need to have both repairs performed. Otherwise, if you have a wheel alignment performed but there’s still excessive play with the tie rods and ball joints, the vehicle will quickly become misaligned again.

 

Comments | Posted in Car Safety Tips By Blogger

 

It’s been a bizarre, severe winter in nearly every corner of Canada, and for many communities, that means potholes. And more potholes. And yet a recent Kal Tire survey shows while 72 per cent of motorists have hit a pothole, only half with pothole damage have had their vehicle fixed.

What does that mean for driver safety? How much damage can potholes do to vehicles anyway? What do Canadians know—or not know—about pothole vehicle damage risks?

In the thick of Canada’s pothole season and to help educate drivers, Kal Tire set out to share the answers to these questions.

1. HOW DOES POTHOLE DAMAGE IMPACT VEHICLE SAFETY?

TIRES & WHEELS

Even if your wheels become bent only slightly, it can lead to poor seals between the rim and the tire, which can lead to leaks and flat tires. Wheel damage can also cause vehicle shaking as well as reduced handling, steering and poor braking performance.

SUSPENSION

Even a single dramatic pothole damage impact, or minor repetitive ones, can cause suspension issues that impair the vehicle’s ability to steer, absorb and dampen shock, maintain road contact and support the vehicle’s weight.

ALIGNMENT

When your vehicle hits a pothole, it’s at risk of becoming misaligned—or no longer square to the vehicle, possibly in one of these ways:

Misalignment can cause poor steering, irregular tire wear and vibrations that lead to driver fatigue. Learn the three signs you need an alignment, and how Kal’s technology and technicians ensure all four wheels are parallel and sitting flat on the road, and that your steering wheel is centered.

 

VEHICLE

Other systems, areas and components that can be affected by potholes include scratched undercarriages and ball joints.

2. WHAT DO CANADIANS KNOW AND DO ABOUT POTHOLE DAMAGE?

Kal Tire’s pothole survey, which polled more than 1,000 Canadians from BC to Ontario, offered some interesting insight into how drivers experience and react to pothole vehicle damage.

KAL TIRE POTHOLE SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nearly 72 per cent of motorists have hit a pothole this winter, yet only half the people with pothole-related vehicle damage have fixed the problem
  • 40% of motorists who have hit potholes this winter say that it damaged their vehicle. The most common damage was to alignment (39 per cent).
  • 32% of motorists with damage reported their steering started pulling to one side, and or that the impact damaged their wheel rims (11%).
  • For vehicles that sustained alignment damage, only 44% of drivers have had it fixed, many motorists left damaged undercarriages, shocks and struts as is.
  • Other problems caused by potholes include vehicles vibrating, shaking or wobbling (37%), damage to undercarriage (28%), vehicle bouncing/swaying (22%), flat or damaged tires (17%), body dents (14%), leaking fluid (4%).

“These are all problems that, if dealt with early on, have a much better chance of costing less and giving you less hassle,” says Sean Thompson, mechanical program manager, Kal Tire. “No one wants to be on the road late at night and hear a rim about to wobble off, or feel their vehicle get ‘the shakes.’ Even having an alignment performed will save on premature tire wear, so it’s about safety and savings.”

3.WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF POTHOLES?

There are ways to help reduce the amount of damage and safety risks associated with potholes. 


 

Comments | Posted in Car Safety Tips By Blogger

A gleaming set of wheels can make an ordinary, used car look new. And with just a little time and the right cleaning techniques, you can take your rims to the next level.

Brake dust, a sticky substance caused by friction when you apply the brakes, is highly corrosive and can cause permanent damage if left on metal rims too long. That’s why cleaning your rims regularly is important.

It’s also smart to clean the rims and tires before the rest of your car to keep dirt on the wheels from getting onto and damaging your car’s painted surface.

Now let’s get started. Before cleaning your rims and wheels, make sure you have the right materials.

Must-have materials: wheel cleaner and sponge

Brake dust can be hard to remove without the right cleaner. Select one specifically made for the material your wheels are made of. For instance, rims that are made of roughcast aluminum and chrome can tolerate stronger cleaners than those that are coated, painted or anodized.

The right brush or sponge is important, too. Opt for a natural sea sponge. Their softness and flexibility lets you more easily wipe away debris, as well as get into hard-to-reach areas. Cotton and microfiber cloths are less effective on brake dust and can even scratch your rims with debris that are not completely rinsed out.

The sponge should be used only to clean your wheels and tires. Otherwise, you risk having brake dust stick to the sponge and damage your car’s paint.

Once you have the right materials, it’s time to clean.

Steps to cleaning your rims and wheels

1. Rinse your rims

First, spray your rims and let the water soak in to loosen the grime. After a few minutes, spray with soap and water to further loosen the debris.

2. Apply the appropriate cleaner

Soak one rim at a time so the cleaner doesn’t dry on the wheel. Follow product directions about how long to leave the cleaner on. Opt for a non-acidic wheel cleaner to help prevent any corrosion.

3. Carefully scrub your rims

Thoroughly scrub the rim with a wheel brush and wipe down each of the spokes. You can use the same sponge on the tire, but as mentioned before; don’t use it on the painted surface of your car.

4. Clean the wheel well

Dirt and grime tends to get caught up in the wheel well, so don’t forget to give it a good scrubbing. Try using a tougher brush than you used with the wheels and rims, as there often is more build up in the well.

5. Spray down rims and wheel wells

Scrubbing might dislodge some of the loose dirt in your wheel, so don’t forget to do another round of rinsing. Spray each wheel to remove the excess dirt and repeat if necessary.

Performing routine essential maintenance not only makes your car look better, it can make it safer, too. Learn about how Nationwide auto insurance keeps you and your vehicle even more protected on the road.

Comments | Posted in Car Maintenance - How To Guides By GWG Wheels

Caring for the paint job on your car is one of the best ways to keep your car looking great all year round.

Regular washing and cleaning, followed by drying, polishing, and waxing, adds a protective coating over your vehicle's paint to provide extra protection to its exterior.

Knowing when to perform each cleaning and detailing task throughout the year is important, as well, as waxing too often can dullen the finish of your car due to excess wax.

Part 1 of 4: Wash your car

Materials Needed

  • Bucket
  • Car wash solution
  • Microfiber towel (or mitt)
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Water hose

Washing a car on a regular basis helps keep it free of dirt, debris, and gritty residue that can accumulate over time. When washed on a weekly basis, your car's paint should remain relatively free of even the worst dirt caused by regular driving.

Step 1: Wash your car. Start washing your car from the roof of the vehicle and work your way down to the bottom of the vehicle. Use a soft-bristled brush, in small, circular motions, to remove more stubborn stains and grease. Use a microfiber cloth to clean less dirty areas.

  • Warning: Avoid using normal dish soap, laundry soap, and other household cleaners when washing your car. These substances are designed to remove grease and oil, and they can damage your car's finish, not to mention strip away the vehicle's protective wax coating.

Step 2: Rinse your car. Rinse your car as you go to prevent the soap and water from drying on your car. The ideal car-washing method is to soap up and wash an area, followed by a quick rinse, before moving on. Try not to take too long while washing your car so that the water does not dry, leaving behind mineral deposits in the form of water spots.

Part 2 of 4: Dry your car

Material Needed

  • Microfiber towels (or mitt)

Thoroughly drying your car after washing it keeps water spots from forming on the vehicle's surface. This helps give a vehicle a beautiful finish after you detail and wax the car later on.

Step 1: Dry your car by hand. Start drying your car as soon as you are finished with the basic wash. This keeps the water from drying and leaving water spots.

Use a microfiber towel to absorb and draw in the water and remove any remaining dirt away from the vehicle's surface. Try not to drag the towel across the car, as this can trap remaining dirt and debris underneath it and potentially scratch the paint.

  • Tip: When drying your car after washing it, park in a cool, shaded area to prevent the sun from drying the car too quickly.

Step 2: Allow your car to air-dry. After drying your car to remove the majority of the moisture, allow it to air dry completely before proceeding to the detailing phase. Allow your car to sit in the shade so that the vehicle does not get too hot before you detail it.

Part 3 of 4: Detail your car

Materials Needed

  • Clay bar
  • Compound
  • Glaze
  • Microfiber towels
  • Polish

After washing and drying your vehicle completely, detailing it allows you to really get a vehicle sparkling clean before waxing. Most often, basic washing does not remove smaller particles and substances that might stick to or are worked into the paint job itself. There are many detailing methods available to help further clean your car's surface.

Step 1: Choose a method to detail your car. Once your car is dry, you can detail the car's outer surface using a variety of items. The items you use depend in large part on what you are attempting to do. Different items you can use to keep your paint clean include the following:

 

  • Warning: Before using any detailing method, make sure you understand how to use it properly. If not, it is better to pay a professional detailer to take care of your car, otherwise you run the risk of damaging your vehicle's surface.

 

Step 2: Prepare to detail your car. Use a microfiber towel or mitt when working with any detailing compound, glaze, or polish. The surface of the microfiber towel should help it lift dirt away from the surface. Otherwise, the dirt is just swirled around on the vehicle's surface and will probably scratch it while doing so.

 

  • Tip: Don't forget to clean and shine your tires, which are one of the most overlooked areas of a vehicle. When doing so, clean, wash, and polish one tire at a time to prevent the cleaner from drying on the tires in patches.

 

Part 4 of 4: Wax your car

 

Materials Needed

 

 

After washing, drying, and detailing the outside of your vehicle, seal it with wax. You only need to wax your car about every three months, so this process is not required every time you wash your car.

 

If you use a detailing method that removes the wax, then you need to apply wax again. Optionally, you can use a paint conditioner instead of a wax product to protect your vehicle's paint job.

 

  • Warning: Be cautious when using a buffer to wax your car. Overuse can lead to paint removal. A dual action or random orbital polisher might be the best choice for a beginner.

 

Step 1: Apply wax. Apply wax using a microfiber towel or a clean buffing pad using the car buffer. If using a buffer, pull the trigger gently, pulsing the wheel. This keeps the wax from caking on the surface of the car.

 

Step 2: Allow the wax to set. Proceed with applying the wax a section at a time, allowing the wax to set before removal. Check the wax container for directions on use and recommended wax set times.

 

Step 3: Buff the wax in. Take a microfiber cloth and use circular motions with the buffer to rub in the wax. Repeat this process until you have waxed the entire surface of the vehicle.

 

When using a buffer to wax your car, use a gentle circular motion that overlaps as you work across each section. Three to five pounds of pressure should be enough to wax your car effectively. As an alternative to waxing, consider applying a ceramic coating for a protective shine that can last years.

 

Keeping your vehicle's paint job cleaned, detailed, and waxed maintains its shiny look for years. This, in turn, prevents the buildup of oxidation, which eventually leads to damaging rust.

 

If rust does develop or your vehicle's paint becomes damaged, seek the help of an experienced auto body professional, such as one from YourMechanic, to advise you on what steps you need to take to correct the situation.

 

Comments | Posted in Car Maintenance - How To Guides By GWG Wheels

The Top Seasonal Car Repairs

3/8/2019 8:19 AM

Cars are complex machines. The performance of your car can be affected by many factors, from the age of the car and its various parts, to how it is driven. Because of all the factors affecting your car and how many moving parts it has, eventually something will break. It is less a matter of if, but when.

It was with that question of ‘when’ in mind that we decided to investigate which repairs are more likely based on the time of the year. To do this we reviewed the frequency of quotes for repairs requested by customers in each month of 2017. Quotes provide a larger sample size than the number of repairs booked. From there we organized the results by season and focused on the repairs that were most common in specific seasons.

Read on to find out more about the most popular results of each season.

Spring

First up in the analysis is spring. 3rd and 5th place go to wheel speed sensor and trunk latch, which are standard parts known to experience gradual wear and tear over time. On the other hand, nearly 44% of timing chains were replaced in the spring, with very few being carried out in fall or winter. This is likely due to spring and summer being far more dry seasons, resulting in a lot more dust and grit getting into the oil that coats the timing chain. This dust and grit could potentially reduce the timing chain lifespan.

Interestingly, window repairs are very common in this period, with 1st place going to a failure involving either the window motor or regulator. Spring is, of course, the time when temperatures begin to rise after the lows of winter, so people are likely attempting to open their windows for the first time that year only to find them inoperable after months of being ignored. Likewise, a brakes, steering and suspension inspection makes sense as people are preparing for the summer (a common time for taking road trips).

Summer

The top result for summer repairs is unsurprising. When it is hot people use their AC more and AC systems have a lot of points of failure. AC repairs could be anything from straightforward fixes like a standard recharge or problems with the condenser fan or compressor relay, to more complicated issues like general AC system failure.

In the months leading up to summer it might be a good idea to get your AC checked – thereby avoiding the risk of not having it when you really need it! Summer is also the busiest time of year for auto repair, so you may not be able to schedule service as quickly as during other times of the year.

The other problems in this list are almost as predictable. Repairs involving the general window assembly are more common in summer because people are operating their windows more often in the heat, and issues with temperature-focused parts like the cooling fan and fan clutch come as little surprise.

Fall

Fall is a slightly less predictable time for repairs. Heater problems sneak into the top five in 4th place, likely due to people firing up their heater for the first time in a while only to discover previously unseen issues.

1st belongs to broken air springs. AAA found that an incredible 79% of Americans planned on taking a road trip over summer ’17. This increased mileage likely had a large effect on the suspension of many peoples’ cars, explaining this result.

Interestingly, window problems have again appeared in the rankings. On this occasion, it is likely due to people having spent the spring and summer getting a great deal of use out of their windows and wearing them down, eventually resulting in a failure. 2nd and 3rd go to issues with the distributor and the timing cover gasket, both of which are also likely caused by summertime wear and tear.

Winter

Finally, it’s time to grab your coats, gloves and scarfs as we enter winter. That the top place is taken by heating issues will not come as much of a surprise to anyone - the large drop in temperature leaves us heavily reliant on our heating systems during the colder months. 4th place goes to headlight bulb replacement, an understandable repair considering the longer nights mean that people get a lot more use out of their headlights than in the summer. 5th is also explained by the weather: deteriorating conditions mean that people have to use their wipers far more often than in summer.

Places two and three, meanwhile, are a useful reminder that fluids often thicken and sometimes even freeze in cold conditions, explaining the increase in problems with windshield washer pumps & reservoirs and oil cooler lines.

Many of the trends we found underline the importance of regularly having your car checked. You often won’t know that there is something wrong with your car’s various components until you need them; this can be at best a minor inconvenience and at worst a major catastrophe. Make sure to plan regularly scheduled maintenance with a reliable mechanic and you’ll avoid the risk of a problem occurring when you least expect it. Hopefully you can use these lists to help you predict the best time of year to get the different systems of your car checked, thereby preempting any potential issues.

Comments | Posted in Car Maintenance - How To Guides By GWG Wheels

Do I really have to replace all four tires on an all-wheel-drive 2007 Ford Fusion when one tire is destroyed? -- Nathaniel

You might.

The problem is that all-wheel-drive cars have something called a center differential. A center differential is a box of gears that allows power to be transmitted to all four wheels, while at the same time allowing the wheels to turn at different speeds when they need to.

When do they need to? When you turn. Whenever you turn left or right, your inside wheels always turn slower (and travel less distance) than your outside wheels. If you don't believe me, steal one of your kids' Hot Wheels cars and turn it in a tight circle on the kitchen table.

Here's the problem: If you have one new tire that's larger than the other three, that new tire will always be turning more slowly, forcing the center differential to work. And the center differential is not designed to be in use all the time -- like when you're driving at 75 mph down the interstate.

If you think tires are expensive, Nathaniel, go out and price a differential. That said, there are a couple of situations in which you might not need four new tires.

If you bought the other three tires recently, you might get away with buying one new one. Every manufacturer has a limit to how much difference they allow in tread. So if the difference in the tires is 3-4/32nds of an inch, check with your manufacturer and see if that's allowable.

If not, and if your tires still have a lot of life on them, you can consider buying a shaved tire. No, that's not a new manscaping term you haven't heard of yet, Nathaniel. A shaved tire is a new tire that has its tread shaved down with a special machine to match the amount of wear on your other tires.

You might be able to find a tire shop locally that does it. If not, go to tirerack.com. They'll sell you the matching tire, shave it for you for $30 of so, and deliver it to you or to a local installer.

Even though it seems a bit wasteful, that might be the most cost effective solution of all, short of stealing all four tires from your neighbor's Fusion.

Comments | Posted in Car Maintenance - How To Guides By GWG Wheels

I recently purchased a GMC 3500 with a Duramax diesel engine. Friends with diesel engine trucks are telling me of increased power and gas mileage obtained by adding aftermarket chips or tuners.

My first thought was that if they are that great, why don't the manufacturers install them as standard equipment? My second thought was, you don't get anything for free, right? So, are you harming the engine in any way by using these chips?

I eagerly await your erudite response. -- Bill

Well, if you want an erudite response, Bill, you're going to have to wait a lot longer. In the meantime, I'll just give you one of my usual thoughtless responses.

As VW taught us all recently, the only way you can increase power and mileage electronically is by sacrificing emissions. And that's what many of these "reprogramming devices" do.

So sure, you can get more power out of your engine. But you'll be giving the rest of us cancer, lung disease and polluted water with your NOx emissions. Not to mention it's against the law, so you'll be a criminal, too.

You're absolutely right, Bill. If the manufacturers could increase power and mileage, without breaking the emissions laws, they would have done it -- and advertised it -- before they sold you the truck.

You're right on your second point, too. You absolutely could be harming the engine. These devices can change pretty much every parameter of the engine management's system, including things like the turbo boost. If you punch up the turbo boost, don't you think there's a chance the turbo might not last as long?

And what do you think the increased force of those bigger explosions in the cylinders will do to the life of your engine?

That's why manufacturers are within their rights to void your warranty if they conclude that you've used an unauthorized aftermarket reprogramming device. They don't even have to catch you in the act. There's a lot of information stored in your car's computer these days that they can download and use to sic Robert Mueller on you.

And I think you'd be miffed if you went to your dealer after 10,000 miles with a multi-thousand-dollar engine problem and your claim got denied.

So I'd try to be satisfied with a brand new truck, Bill. That alone gives you more power and better mileage than most of us.

Comments | Posted in Car Buying Tips By GWG Wheels
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