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Treading Lightly: Answers to Common Tire Maintenance Questions

OCH_Tire_Tread_Check-300x300You can save money and help ensure the safety of you and your passengers by properly maintaining your tires. That includes checking and setting the pressure, rotating the tires regularly and, when needed, having your wheels aligned.
To help you keep your tires in top-notch condition, we’re sharing answers to questions commonly asked of our knowledgeable, trained technicians.

How Often Should I Check My Tire Pressure?
Check the pressure of all your tires about once a month.Don’t forget your spare! After all, a flat spare is of no value.
As part of our thorough Famous 18-Point Full-Service Oil Change, Oil Can Henry’s checks and fills your tires. We also happily check and fill your tires free of charge within three months of your last Oil Can Henry’s service.

Should I Fill My Tires to the Pressure Listed on the Sidewall?
Don’t automatically inflate your tires to the pressure listed on the tire sidewall. That’s the pressure needed to achieve the tire’s maximum rated load capacity; it may not be the correct pressure for your vehicle.
Instead, inflate your tires to the pressure recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. You can find that in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the driver’s door jamb.

How Often Should I Rotate My Tires?
Regularly rotating your tires is one of the best ways to help ensure even wear and extend the life of your tires.
Recommended intervals vary; AAA advises every 5,000 – 7,000 miles while Goodyear says every 3,000 – 6,000 miles. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.
Some tire retailers, including Les Schwab, include free rotation for the lifetime of tires they sell. Don’t be afraid to take them up on it!

What’s an Alignment? And When Should I Have It Done?
An alignment is an adjustment of the suspension, which connects your vehicle to its wheels, to ensure the tires are making proper contact with the road.
If you notice uneven or excessive wear on your tire tread or if your vehicle is pulling to one side on a level road, you may need an alignment or suspension repair. Other telltale signs include a steering wheel that’s off-center when you’re driving straight ahead and vibration of your steering wheel. Learn more here.
How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Tires?
You’ll want to replace your tires when the tread drops to 1/16 of an inch… if not sooner.
To check the tread depth, place a penny upside down into a groove on your tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.
Also watch for these signs that it’s time to replace your tires: uneven wear, a change or decline in vehicle handling, a drop in gas mileage, vibration, reduced brake responsiveness, and/or tires that are losing air faster than normal.

Additional Resources
Want to learn more? Check out these great resources:


January Anniversaries: Cruising Along in Modesto

OCH_Modesto_March2008-300x198No film better captures our nation’s love affair with the automobile than American Graffiti, the 1973 coming of age tale co-written and directed by George Lucas.
Set in Lucas’ hometown of Modesto, Calif., American Graffiti features an all star cast (including Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard) and artfully shares the story of best friends as they spend one last night cruising the streets together before heading off to college.
George Lucas Plaza
More than 40 years later, cars are still at the heart of American life, Modesto still celebrates car culture with it’s annual Graffiti Summer and Oil Can Henry’s is still working hard to help vehicles drive better and last longer. In fact, Oil Can Henry’s has proudly served drivers in this San Joaquin Valley community for more than seven years, providing quick and convenient oil changes and other preventive maintenance they can trust.
Congratulations to the wonderful team of trained technicians at Oil Can Henry’s in Modesto, and the other four centers celebrating January anniversaries:

From Our Customers: Above and Beyond

Redmond_8377_crop_2It was 6:30 am on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we were just trying to get to the Portland Airport to catch a flight when the Check Engine light in my car came on.
It was freezing cold and not a business light on in any direction until we spotted Oil Can Henry’s. Lucky for us, two of your team members were doing inventory. We knocked on the window, they brought us in from the cold and were able to do a quick diagnostic check on the car and help us with the problem.
Those two employees went above and beyond the call of duty to help out to potentially stranded passengers.
Thanks so much!!!
~ Leandra P.
Seattle, WA

Do Your Vehicle’s Air Bags Need to be Replaced?

OCH-Air-Bag-BlogAs many as 11 million vehicles in the U.S. could have potentially dangerous air bags. Are you driving one of them?
If you’re not sure, that’s understandable.
It’s been more than 19 months since Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata first announced the potentially life-threatening fault with air bags it manufactured 2002-08, and a lot of information — some of it conflicting — has been released since then.
As the recall has grown in scope, some vehicle manufacturers continue to disagree with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about how broad the recall should be.
Last week, Honda became the first, and to date only, vehicle manufacturer to comply with the NHTSA’s call to expand the recall to a national level. Honda plans to replace the driver’s side air bag inflaters on about 2.6 million vehicles nationwide.
Here’s more information to help you understand the situation, determine if your vehicle is affected and, if so, learn how to get the faulty air bag(s) replaced.
What’s the Problem?
The air bags in question contain defective inflator and propellant devices that may, in the event of a crash, deploy incorrectly and spray metal pieces throughout the passenger cabin of your vehicle. Four fatalities and 100 injuries have been linked to this problem.
How Do I Determine If My Vehicle is Affected?
There are several resources available; in most cases, you’ll need your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is located in the lower driver-side corner of the dashboard (it’s easiest to read the VIN from the outside of the vehicle) and on registration and insurance forms.
The NHTSA provides an easy-to-use website that provides recall information based on VIN. Go to the web site, choose your vehicle make and enter your VIN. If your vehicle is affected, the site will tell you so. You can also search for recall information by entering the vehicle make, model and year.
How Do I Get My Air Bags Replaced?
The auto makers are working as fast as they can and prioritizing repair work. The defective air bag inflators appear to be affected by heat and humidity, so the auto makers are prioritizing high heat and high humidity states and territories, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
If your vehicle is affected, contact your dealership regarding repairs.
Should I Shut Off My Air Bags Until They’re Replaced?
So far, Toyota is the only manufacturer recommending that drivers turn off their vehicle’s air bags until they can be replaced. A number of groups think this is a bad idea. Consumer Reports is one, and provides these alternate recommendations based on how your vehicle is affected:

  • Passenger side only: “(D)on’t let anyone sit in that seat.”
  • Driver side: Limit use of your vehicle, arrange to carpool with others and use public transportation.

Where Can I Learn More?
Consumer Reports and Car and Driver have both provided extensive and valuable information.


17 Tips for Maintaining and Driving Your Vehicle in Winter Weather

iStock_000029634386XLargeWhether you’re headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays or planning a family weekend on the ski slopes, ’tis the season for driving in snowy, icy and rainy conditions.\n\nTo ensure you and your passengers enjoy a safe trip, we’re sharing 17 important vehicle maintenance and driving tips from our friends at AAA.\n\nWe also recommend you read two informative and free AAA brochures: “How to Go in Ice and Snow” for tips on driving on icy and snowy roads and “Get a Grip” for tips on driving in rain and on wet pavement.\n\n \n\nAN OUNCE OF PREVENTION\n


  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your gas line from freezing.
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  • Avoid using your parking brake in snowy, rainy and wet conditions. If it gets particularly cold, the brake can freeze in place.
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  • Carry an emergency road kit. Your kit should include a snow scraper, shovel, gloves, flashlight and batteries, warning flares, jumper cables, water, food, extra clothing, first-aid supplies, a bag of cat litter or sand, basic tools, and a mobile phone and charger.
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  • Don’t warm up a vehicle in a garage or other enclosed space.
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  • Share your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling through isolated areas. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
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\n \n\nPREPARE AND MAINTAIN\n\nSpend a little time on your vehicle before your trip to ensure a safe, worry-free journey.\n


  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth. Having the right pressure and traction in winter weather is a must. Don’t mix radial tires with other types of tires.
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  • Replace wiper blades. If your blades leave streaks or miss spots, it’s time for new ones. Also make sure you have enough washer fluid that won’t freeze in the reservoir.
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  • Ensure the battery is working properly. Check all cable connections and make sure there’s no corrosion on the terminals. You may want to replace the battery if you haven’t done so in the last three to five years.
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  • Check that all your lights are clean, bright and working properly. This includes your headlights, brake lights and turn signals. If your plastic lens headlights are dull or don’t provide enough light, consider a Headlight Restoration.
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  • Check your antifreeze — both the amount of fluid and the fluid’s freeze protection level. Worn-out fluid may not protect against freezing or overheating and can lead to costly engine damage. Learn more about your vehicle’s cooling system and the benefits of Cooling System Flush service.
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  • Have your vehicle inspected. Take the time to service your car before a road trip, especially if you’re close to scheduled maintenance.
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\nOil Can Henry’s Famous 20-Point Full-Service Oil Change is an exceptional value that includes a complimentary safety inspection to help keep your vehicle at peak operating efficiency. We check your lights, battery, wipers, brake fluid, air filters, PCV valve, and Serpentine Belt. We also check and fill your windshield wash, coolant, transfer case fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, and tires.\n\nIf you need a Cooling System Flush, Headlight Restoration or Automatic Transmission Flush, trust the trained technicians at your local Oil Can Henry’s. All our services meet manufacturer warranty requirements, so you don’t have to hassle with appointments and drop-offs at the dealership. Learn about the wide variety of preventive maintenance services we offer here.\n\n \n\nBE IN THE KNOW\n\nMake sure you’re familiar with basic techniques necessary to drive safely in winter conditions. Specifically:\n


  • Stopping distances are significantly longer on snow, ice and wet pavement, so increase your following distance from the 3-4 seconds recommended for dry roads to 8-10 seconds.
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  • Drive in the lane that has been most recently cleared and avoid making turns through areas with built-up snow.
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  • Don’t use cruise control on slippery surfaces.
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  • Brake gently; don’t pump the brake pedal.
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  • If you find yourself in a skid, don’t panic. Look and gently steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
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  • Watch for frost. Cold night time temperatures can lead to frost on vehicles and on the roads. Slow down or brake gently when approaching bridges or overpasses, where frost is more prone to accumulate and create hazardous conditions. Also watch for shaded areas that could create black ice, especially during early morning or late night hours.
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\n \n\nSafe travels — and Happy Holidays — from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!