(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - As spring blooms and temperatures warm up, it's time to open up the windows and go outside. This means getting into your garage and dusting off the cobwebs from your lawnmower, wiping down your outdoor table and chairs, and getting your car primed to take you where you want to go this summer season.
According to experts, outdoor equipment such as trimmers, blowers, chainsaws and even patio furniture need some time and attention to get them ready for use after sitting all winter. This is especially true for cars that have borne the brunt of snow, ice, slush and other winter-related weather.
Here are some tips for getting your machinery, vehicles and outdoor equipment ready for summer use and entertaining:
Get your lawnmower out of the corner of the garage. Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth, oil moving parts to ensure they are well lubricated, and make sure the blade is sharp. Sharp blades are better for your lawn and put less stress on the engine. If you added a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL Storage prior to putting it away for the winter, it should start up smoothly. Should you have some hard starts, try a revitalizer like Start Your Engines! to get it revved up quickly.
Prime your automobile. With the cost of driving at a six-year low, you'll want to take that long-overdue road trip this summer, so ensuring that your auto is in tip-top shape is paramount. According to the AAA, driving costs are affected by how well your vehicle runs, and that includes the inside and outside of your car. Performing regular maintenance can ensure more efficient operation and help prevent costly repairs. One way to save money is by detailing the car yourself using products such as 303 Automotive Protectant to protect interior surfaces from cracking and fading. Originally engineered for aerospace and aviation applications, 303 Automotive Protectant safeguards against harmful UV rays that can cause discoloration. In addition, it keeps surfaces looking newer, leaves a dry matte finish so there's no oily feel, and helps repel dust. For the exterior, consider 303 Automotive Speed Detailer, which will instantly clean, protect and give your car a showroom shine. It's a great way to keep your car cleaner between washings. And at every fill-up to keep the engine running smoothly, use STA-BIL 360 Performance, a fuel treatment that protects your engine above and below the fuel line to keep your engine running cleaner, stronger and with greater performance.
Assess your outdoor furniture. No matter what material your outdoor furniture is made of, start by wiping down the surfaces. Plastic furniture, if left uncovered all winter, may just need a little soap and water to remove any dirt. To protect your outdoor furniture's hard surfaces from harmful UV Rays, apply a layer of 303 Protectant. You'll also want to protect your fabrics from water and other debris, so try 303 Fabric Guard.
For more information, please visit www.goldeagle.com.
(BPT) - Are you the type of driver who pushes the accelerator a little harder on the curves of a back-country road? Are you a person who smiles as they approach a new terrain or road condition you’ve never conquered before? If so, you’re a performance seeker. A person who is constantly pushing themselves to prove that they are driver enough.
The performance driver never wants to lose the feeling of adrenaline as they push their vehicle to the max, but as the seasons change, so do the road conditions and the challenges drivers face. We sat down with X-Games athlete, professional race car driver, professional stunt car driver and BFGoodrich(R) Tires ambassador, Andrew Comrie-Picard, or ACP, to better understand the challenges associated with wet weather driving, how modern tires can help prevent the loss of traction and skidding, and how they make the overall driving experience more fun – regardless of the season.
Keeping contact with the road
The biggest danger with wet weather driving is how unexpected the road conditions and hazards can be. As the temperatures rise and seasonal showers pick up, standing water in puddles, still-cool spring temperatures, and the potential for showers to lift oil to the surface of the road can all compromise traction and lead to a skid or a possible accident.
"Having the right tires is the number one thing you can do to prevent hydroplaning without losing performance often drowned out during the rainy season," says Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP). "The proper tread depth and tire design can make all the difference in your vehicle’s ability to shed water, while increasing control on the road."
Until recently, a tire with exceptional wet and dry traction in both high and low ambient temperatures was a dream of tire engineers and drivers alike. But the BFGoodrich(R) g-Force(TM) COMP-2(TM) A/S tire puts the best of both worlds in one tire. When tested against the leading competitors, it stopped up to 15 feet shorter on wet roads and 5 feet shorter on dry roads.
Its superior traction isn't just good for braking in both dry and wet conditions, it also helps your vehicle accelerate faster, ensuring you don’t forfeit your vehicle’s performance to Mother Nature.
What if you hydroplane?
ACP has driven in all types of conditions across terrains all over the globe – including a recent expedition down an ice road onto the frozen Arctic Ocean. He says it’s important to think like and become a performance driver in the situations where the road conditions deteriorate to ensure you do not lose control.
“Panicking is the worst thing to do. If you start hydroplaning, slow the vehicle down gradually, don’t slam on the brakes. Ride it out and be ready for when your tires regain traction with the road,” ACP says. "Those who drive the fastest typically have the slowest control input: they brake slower, they steer smoothly, and these are the types of things that will save you in a skid.”
ACP also says the key to this calmness is having a good understanding of your vehicle, its tires, and their limitations.
"You need to be able to feel where the edge of your vehicle and its tires are so you know exactly how much you can push it in any climate or condition. A tire that communicates with you when it's sliding and when it's stopping is crucial," he says. That kind of sensitivity is what makes tires so important for a performance driver like ACP and why he chooses the g-Force(TM) Comp-2(TM) A/S tire, because, as he says, "with these tires, you can feel your vehicle come back into control progressively. It’s like the tires talk to you."
High performance tires help you respond to unexpected situations, whether you’re hydroplaning or starting to skid out. While greater traction during wet weather seasons is certainly argument enough, these tires also open your car's potential, making for a much more fun driving experience regardless of the forecast.
(BPT) - A growing number of children are not content to keep all their efforts inside the classroom or play video games. They seek out different outlets like sports - especially soccer, which makes the largest youth sports organization in America - in order to learn, socialize and have fun. According to data from the U.S. Census, nearly six out of 10 children between the ages of 6 and 17 are involved in at least one after school extra-curricular activity. Children are stepping out to stay active, but they need some help to get there - literally. Even world-class soccer players on English Premier League champion Chelsea FC once needed parents to drive them around.
However, before kids can even hit the soccer field, the vehicles that get them there need to run smoothly, especially the tires. “With all the soccer practices and games, parents are putting a lot of extra miles on their tires,” says Pat Keating, senior manager, technical engineering for Yokohama Tire Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of tires for passenger cars, SUVs, buses and trucks. “Taking just five minutes a month to check your tires can make a world of difference in how well they perform.”
“The reason to check your tires monthly is to make sure they are properly inflated and the tread depth is still good. For example, the Rubber Manufacturers Association reports a car can lose up to 2 pounds per-square-inch (psi) each month under normal driving conditions, and up to 2 psi for every 10 degrees F temperature drop. A tire that is underinflated by only 8 psi can reduce fuel economy by up to 2 percent, which means higher gas bill at the pump and fewer funds for soccer league fees, new equipment or jerseys.”
It’s best to check your tires when they are cold, which means at least four hours since the vehicle was driven. Use a reliable tire gauge and make sure the valve is free of debris and water. The correct tire pressure is actually specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle, not the tire manufacturer. You can find the proper inflation levels on a placard on the inside of the car door or in the owner’s manual.
Keating offers more tips for parents so they can get the most out of their tires year-round:
* Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy new tires.
* Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch (the lowest legal limit). It's best to replace them before they reach 2/32 depending on your drive (geographically and type of streets).
* Rotating your tires regularly promotes even wear of the tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
* Check your alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.
“Tires influence braking, steering, comfort, handling and even fuel efficiency,” adds Keating.” You can’t play soccer without a ball, and you can’t drive without tires. They are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road so maintaining them well is essential.”
Having the right tires is also as important as having the right equipment in sports, Keating reports. “Certain tires offer specific benefits, so it’s imperative to find the tire that fits your car’s requirements. Case in point would be the GEOLANDAR A/T G015, a new tire that’s coming out soon. It’s specifically engineered for SUVs, crossovers, vans and pick-up trucks with its increased durability and ability to perform well on a variety of road surfaces.”
Help your kids kick off their season right by giving your tires some extra care. Tire maintenance is one extra-curricular activity you can't afford to miss.
(BPT) - If your vehicle is more to you than just a tool that gets you to and from work, then you’re always looking for new ways to maximize your drive time. As seasons change, your pursuits do as well which requires considerations about road conditions and weather when choosing the best equipment to get you where you want to go, without fail.
So how do you make sure you can continue to chase the pursuits you love deep into the cold weather months? It starts with new tires, and if you’re in the market for some additional seasonal grip, you’re looking at all-season and all-terrain options. Now which one is right for you?
To help you in your decision making, BFGoodrich(R) Tire experts Marcus Wilson and Dan Newsome offer an insider’s look at the differences between all-season and all-terrain tires. Use their advice to determine which one matches your pursuits to keep you enjoying your vehicle all season long.
All-season tires: what you need know
“Often times, winter causes us to scale back what we do and we lose the thrill of driving,” says Wilson, BFGoodrich Tires Ultra-High Performance marketing manager. “But all-season tires mean you don’t have to sacrifice your road time and they allow you to extend your driving activities later into the year.”
Wilson says consumers can think of all-season tires as a “jack of all trades” option and that an all-season tire will give you more performance without having to switch to a specialty tire. For sporty coupe and sedan vehicles, the new g-Force(TM) COMP-2(TM) A/S tire gives drivers the ability to accelerate faster, brake shorter and maintain control during any season. It’s great for wet, dry or light snow-covered roads. It also maintains grip in colder ambient temperatures (around 44 degrees Fahrenheit), even when no moisture is present on the road surface. Testing shows the tire stops up to 15 feet shorter on wet roads and 5 feet shorter on dry roads.
“Wherever there’s a paved road, you can typically take an all-season ultra-high performance tire, like the new g-Force(TM) COMP-2(TM) A/S tire, and you enjoy it,” Wilson says.
All-terrain tires: taking your knowledge off-road
If your seasonal pursuits will take you off traditional paved roads, you’ll want a tough all-terrain tire according to Newsome, BFGoodrich Tires country marketing manager for Light Truck Tires. “For any outdoor activities that ignite your spirit of adventure, finding a good all-terrain tire is where your journey begins,” he says.
Newsome adds that all-terrain tires are perfect for vehicles that have more horsepower and torque, and need the perfect tire for “adventure drives.” He says when BFGoodrich started developing the second generation of its race-proven and most advanced light truck tire ever, the new All-Terrain T/A(R) KO2 tire, they started by asking their customers what they wanted from an all-terrain tire. “It came down to the three T’s,” Newsome says. “Toughness, tread life and traction.” With this in mind, the new KO2 features a rugged durable tire that lasts twice as long on gravel roads and 15 percent longer on asphalt, according to off-road test results. The tire also offers 10 percent greater traction in mud and 19 percent greater traction in snow, as well as reinforced sidewalls to help prevent a blowout.
The KO2 also carries the RMA Severe Snow Rating (3 Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol) which indicates that it's an excellent choice for owners of pickups and other rugged vehicles to use on-road as well as off-road in winter conditions.
“An all-terrain tire should give you those all-season capabilities,” says Newsome, “and it should also be there for you when it’s time to go off-road.”
Finding the right tires for you
When trying to determine which tires are best for you, keep this handy checklist in mind.
You’ll want all-season tires if:
You are driving in an environment where road conditions change frequently all year due to inclement weather.
You want to enjoy driving confidence in rain, light snow and cold, in addition to dry pavement.
You pursue driving passions where braking, accelerating and maintaining control matter.
You’ll want all-terrain tires if:
Your adventures take you on unpaved roads
The fall and winter mean hiking, camping, fishing or generally turning off paved roads
Traction and toughness are key to helping you continue your adventure
Start your search for the perfect tires
If you loathe the idea of abandoning your hobbies because the weather has changed, replacing your tires can help. Whether you need all-season or all-terrain tires depends on your pursuits, the amount of traction, toughness and performance you need, how you plan to use your vehicle and where you plan to go. Whichever you choose, your new tires will let you enjoy the changing weather in the way that works best for you and make the most of this season in your favorite machine.
(BPT) - Buying a new car to reduce your carbon footprint seems logical. But surprisingly, keeping the vehicle already in your garage, or replacing it with a more fuel efficient used car may be a greener choice. That’s because it takes a lot of energy and raw materials to manufacture a new vehicle. "It varies between models, but it is reasonable to estimate building a new $30,000 midsize car will generate greenhouse gases that are the equivalent of 14 metric tons of CO2," says RockAuto.com Vice President, Tom Taylor.
The average car on the road is about 11 years old. EPA data shows that vehicles (cars and trucks) built in 2005, on average, emit 447 grams of CO2 per mile. A 2016 vehicle is expected to generate about 90 grams less than that every mile. Producing less CO2 is good, but it would take more than 150,000 miles of driving for that 90 grams in CO2 savings to add up and compensate for the 14,000 kg (14 metric tons of CO2) it took to build the new car. Especially for someone who does not drive a lot, it could be greener to just keep a well maintained older vehicle than to build a new one.
How much do you save with an electric car?
Electric cars do not have tailpipes, but an electric car is still on the hook for "upstream CO2" emitted by the utility which provides the electricity for the car. The EPA estimates upstream CO2 is around 100 grams per mile for most electric vehicles. That is a whopping 347 grams less than what is produced by the average vehicle built in 2005, but it would still take over 40,000 miles of driving before the electric car saved enough CO2 to cover the greenhouse gas cost of building it in the first place.
The environmental cost of servicing older cars
What about the CO2 equivalent discharged while making parts to fix an older car? Brake pads, struts, tires and other parts wear out as the miles pile up. Fortunately, unless the vehicle is involved in an accident, the structure that makes up most of a car will never need to be replaced.
Many smaller parts like alternators and major parts like engines and transmissions can be remanufactured. Remanufacturing means only the components that experience wear are replaced. Metal housings and other major pieces can be cleaned, refinished and reused. "Remanufacturing saves more than 80 percent of the energy and raw materials required to build a new part from scratch," Taylor says. Less energy and materials means less CO2.
Car manufacturers are using more recycled materials and updating factories to use less energy. Government mandates require future vehicles become increasingly more fuel efficient. "Upstream CO2" may decline as utility companies find new, greener ways to generate electricity. Nevertheless, keeping your current car well maintained or buying a more fuel efficient used car are currently great choices if you want to be green.
(NewsUSA) - With holidays fast approaching, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, and food for get-togethers, parties and holiday dinners. Rarely do we take time to think about how these items -- that will be long remembered (or forgotten) after the holidays are over -- got to the store, market, and ultimately to your home.
Michelin North America, America's leading tire company, is asking people to take a minute to reflect and recognize the behind-the-scenes workers who make the holidays possible and memorable for so many families.
From the farmers who provide the ingredients for holiday meals, to the port workers who unload our presents and the truckers and package couriers who deliver them, Michelin says it is honored to provide tires to those critical workers who "keep our economy moving."
As you race from store to store, wrap your presents and prepare your holiday meals, consider these facts and take just a moment to appreciate those who work so hard to make your holidays special:
98 percent of the farms in the U.S. are family-operated.
Agricultural production accounts for 50 percent of all U.S. land.
30 million shipping containers move through U.S. ports each year.
$1.6 billion in sales is what experts predict U.S. consumers will spend online this season.
3.4 million truckers will average 500 miles a day and work 365 days a year to ensure that your packages arrive safe and sound at your doorstep.
"As you bustle from store to store and gather with family and friends, please take a minute this holiday season to think about the many people who help move the food and goods that contribute to your family's special holiday memories across the miles and keep the roads and highways safe," says Ralph Dimenna, chief operating officer for Michelin Americas Truck Tires Division. "These are the ones who 'keep things moving' under all kinds of weather and driving conditions."
For more information, visit www.michelinmedia.com.
(BPT) - Wherever you are in the United States, winter is coming, and for some parts of the country it’s already here. That brings festivities, good cheer, and in at least 70 percent of the country, snow and ice on the roads. While you may think those big, old plow trucks look like something vaguely Jurassic and definitely old fashioned, there is an awful lot of high tech stuff in those plows, helping to keep our roads safe and traffic moving during these winter months.
Of course, all vehicles are a lot more high-tech than they were 10 years ago, but the whole winter maintenance field is undergoing a bit of a revolution with respect to technology. That new technology is beginning to have a profound and beneficial effect not only on your local streets department or highway agency, but also on the safety of the roads in winter, and the ease with which we can travel on them. Salting and plowing can reduce crashes by up to 88 percent in winter storm conditions, and that is a level of safety we can all appreciate.
Some of those changes can be quite obvious to us, as in the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) “Track a plow” website. On that website, anyone can see in near real time where any of the Iowa DOT trucks are located. For many of those trucks, you can also view a photograph taken through the windshield of the truck, which is updated every five minutes, so you get a real idea of what the actual road conditions look like. You can also see which trucks are applying materials to the road (and whether it is a solid or a liquid) and in what quantities. As Dr. Anna Arvidsson of VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, said of the website, “Wow, that is so cool. I could not even get access to historical data from snowplows in Sweden. And here I can see temperatures both air and surface and spread amount.”
The value of this sort of system to road users is pretty obvious - we can see what the roads are like for ourselves along the route we are planning on taking, and thus make a well-informed decision as to whether we should allow more time for our trip, or perhaps simply stay home. The City of Chicago has a similar system that allows city residents (and anyone else who is interested) to see where the city plows are in near real time.
The benefits of the system extend to commercial transportation as well. A severe winter storm that closes down roads across a whole state may cost the economy up to $700 million per day, so knowing the conditions of the roads can be very important.
But there is another area in which technology is bringing huge changes in winter maintenance, and that is in the whole arena of managing resources. Increasingly, the salt spreaders on the back of those plow trucks are computer controlled, and the computers track not just how much material they are putting down on the road, but where they are placing it, so environmentally sensitive areas can be protected more effectively.
These devices are also tracking the condition of the road surface itself, measuring the pavement temperature (which, much more so than the air temperature determines how effective salt will be when it is placed on the pavement, and guides how much salt should be applied) and in some cases, even measuring the grip of the pavement (how slippery it is) and using that information directly to adjust the application rate.
This new technology allows agencies to provide the level of service on the roads the public wants and needs, while controlling costs and essentially eliminating any environmental concerns about salt use. Kevin Hensley, the stormwater supervisor for the City of West Des Moines, noted new technology allows their agency to manage their activities much better because they can measure what they are doing so much more effectively. “If we can measure it, then we can manage it so much better,” he says.
Better management has some real bottom line benefits for taxpayers, too. “We have decreased our per-storm maintenance costs by between 30 and 50 percent while providing an improved level of service to our community,” says Bret Hodne, the director of Public Works for the City of West Des Moines. Those sorts of savings will keep you feeling warm and toasty inside, no matter how chilly the winter weather gets!