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Belle Tire Blog

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    Dressing up for Halloween is always a good time, but why should you have all the fun? Your car would love to be dressed up for the holiday as well! What, you’ve never heard of a car costume before? Well, ...

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  • The Auto Industry certainly doesn’t stand still. Car companies are always investing and developing new technologies to improve the safety, value and efficiency of their vehicles.

    Here are three interesting innovations that consumers can expect to see more of in the coming year.

    Electronic Stability Control
    The Federal Government has mandated that all 2012 models under 10,000 pounds use Electronic Stability Control (ESC.)

    ESC is a computerized technology that detects loss of steering control.  This design helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles on slippery roads.  The brakes are automatically applied to help steer the car or truck where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to wheels individually, so the brake is applied to the outer front wheel to counter oversteer or the inner rear wheel to counter understeer.      

           

    Some ESC systems may also reduce engine power until control is regained.

    According to a study done by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third of fatal accidents could have been prevented by the technology. The technology has reduced the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes by half, according to IIHS.

    Inflatable Seat Belts
    Ford Motor Company introduced inflatable seat belts, which debuted in the 2011 Explorer for rear-seat passengers. They combine the features of traditional seat belts with those of airbags.

    The inflatable seat belts also can be used with children's car seats and booster seats.

     

    “Ford’s rear inflatable seat belt technology will enhance safety for rear seat passengers of all ages, especially for young children who are more vulnerable in crashes,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership, including the most top safety ratings of any automaker.”

    In everyday use, the inflatable belts operate like conventional seat belts and are safe and compatible with infant and children safety car and booster seats. The plan is eventually for Ford to offer the inflatable seat belt technology in vehicles globally.

    Start-Stop Technology
    Hybrid owners are familiar with this start-stop technology, but now car companies are looking at expanding its use because the technology is a great way to improve a vehicles fuel economy by up to 10 percent.

    Start-Stop technology conserves energy and fuel by shutting off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is at rest – at traffic lights for example – and then automatically restarting it when the driver hits the gas pedal.

    Adding it to purely internal combustion cars isn’t expensive for manufacturers and the feature adds a lot of value.  A recent report released in 2010 by Lux Research, a technology consulting company, estimated that by 2015 4.6 million cars in the United States would feature the technology.

    Let us know what other automotive technology you find interesting.

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  • pumkin patch 007

    You see them in the fields when traversing Michigan’s farmland and rural areas. Orange dots of varying sizes scattered across the ground. The pumpkin. This delicious and ornamental fruit that is harvested in the fall is obviously synonymous with Halloween, ...

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  • We love cars, car culture, and even car advertising. Especially when it’s as well done as this new Chevy commercial. Titled Then & Now- 100 Years of Chevy, the spot beautifully integrates old car photos into video scenes from the present, while America the Beautiful plays in the background. Not only is the photo over video effect really cool, the photos themselves are sure to stir warm feelings of nostalgia of times and cars gone by.

    What do you think of this commercial? Does it stir up any old car memories?

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  • Let’s face it; merging into traffic can be difficult and nerve-racking. By following these key instructions, you’ll be prepared next time you have to merge in a highly trafficked area.

    1. Get prepared to merge well in advance of the actual merge
    2. As your approaching the highway, look for spaces in between cars that you can merge into easily
    3. Increase your speed until you’ve reached the space between cars that you identified
    4. Your natural instincts are probably to slow down before merging; this is a mistake and can lead to collisions with cars behind you.

    Follow these guides and always leave plenty of room between your car and others. This will lead to less stressful and safer driving for you and others on the road!

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  • DSC05223-car_macro

    This is perhaps not a question you’ve pondered before, but there are some trends in car horn tuning. In an attempt to produce horns that are pleasing to the ear, yet able to penetrate the low frequency of traffic noise, ...

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  • Pagani Zonda Roadster

    At some point you’ll probably win the lottery, right? So with that in mind we’ll help you prepare for the inevitable with this list of cars you’re going to want to snap up once your ship comes in. The Supercars.org⊃; ...

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  • Find Top Winter Tires

    Oct 17, 2011

    Winter Tires are built from the ground up to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions. Many car and truck owners think all-season tires can offer that same kind of performance, but that’s not true.

    The compounds used in all-season tires generally begin to harden and lose traction when the temperature goes below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter tires use special rubber compounds designed to improve a vehicles performance, traction, handling and braking in all cold weather conditions including ice and snow.

    Drivers shopping for winter tires this 2011 season won’t be lacking options. Tire manufacturers have spent a lot of time developing winter tires and here are three models to look for at local tire retailers.

    Bridgestone BLIZZAK WS-70

    Designed for coupes, sedans, crossover vehicles and minivans, the Blizzak WS70 is the fourth generation of Bridgestone WinterBiter tires.
     
    The studless winter tire offers outstanding performance in the wintertime by taking advantage of Bridestone’s unique patented designs.

    The Blizzak WS70 has a dual-compound tread. One layer is a standard winter compound and the other is Bridgestone's NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced Tube Multicell compound. The Tube Mutlicell compound is layered on top and features thousands of microscopic tubes and cells. These are uniformly distributed throughout the compound to prevent water from building-up between the tire’s contact patch and the surface of snowy and icy roads.

    As the tread wears, new tubes are constantly exposed along the tread for consistent performance. Basically, the compound gives the tire superior grip in cold weather and bite when dealing with snow and ice.
     
    The Blizzak WS70 includes other features to enhance dry road performance while maintaining snow, ice and wet traction. This tire has four main circumferential grooves that helps disperse water from the tire's contact patch to improve hydroplaning resistance and enhance braking.

    Michelin X-ICE Xi2

    The Michelin X-Ice Xi2 is another winter tire built for coupes, sedans and minivans.
     
    The Michelin tire is a great value with its low rolling resistance and meets the company’s Green X standard. Michelin guarantees that the tires energy efficiency is at the top of the market in that given category of tires. For vehicle owners, that means reduced fuel consumption and emissions of C02 gasses.

    This branding doesn’t mean the tire sacrifices anything in performance. The X-Ice Xi2 is designed so it is prepared to handle the coldest winter driving conditions around the world.

    The tire uses Michelin's patented FleX-Ice silica-based winter tread rubber compound. The compound enhances the tires traction in snow and ice, but also remains firm at higher temperatures for traction on wet and dry roads. The compound is
    molded into a directional tread design that pushes water and slush away from the tire to improve hydroplaning resistance.

    Firestone WINTERFORCE

    The Firestone Winterforce is another great option for drivers of coupes, sedans and minivans looking for winter tires.

    Firestone Winterforce features a winter tread compound that’s molded into an aggressive directional tread pattern. It has tread blocks that are siped, and also can be studded, so the tire has biting edges for traction on ice or in snow.

    It also has independent tread blocks with high-density siping to improve the grip on the road. This works well with the tire’s intermediate and shoulder tread blocks. Internally, the features twin steel belts.

    If you're thinking your tires will have you slip sliding away this winter, stop at a local tire store and learn more about getting the right winter tires for your vehicle. There are many great winter tire rebates. Winter won't wait and neither should you.

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  • The best way to get out of a hydroplaning situation is obviously to never hydroplane in the first place. To do your best to avoid hydroplaning, make sure to:

    • Have proper tread on your tire. If your tires are too worn, make sure to have them replaced. Here’s an article to help you determine when to replace your tires.

    • Travel at reduced speeds when roads are wet.

    • Avoid sudden starts and stops in the rain.

    In the event that you do hydroplane, make sure you’ve watched this video and have identified the type of vehicle you drive and what actions to take to remain safe.

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  • Your car’s handling on the road can be a strong indicator of a possible issue.  A vibrating steering wheel or a car that pulls to the left or right and not straight on a level road may be a warning sign that your vehicle needs a tire alignment.

    As a car’s speed increases, pulling and vibration problems will generally get worse. If you happen to identify any of these signs, it is best to have a certified auto professional double check your automobile to confirm the problem and fix it before it gets worse. This will not only help you save money by maintaining your vehicle and preventing other issues, but also keep you and your passengers safe on the road.  

    A Closer Look at the Warning Signs

    When a car with average sized tires hits 60 miles per hour, its tires will rotate an average of 850 times per minute . At speeds like these, any kind of variation in the balance of the vehicle’s tires will cause the steering wheel to vibrate or feel unstable.

    If ignored, wheel vibrations can create more problems like excessive tire wear and damage to a vehicle’s suspension and steering. The vehicle’s performance will continue to worsen and handling the car will become more difficult. 

    Wheel alignment and tire balancing are inexpensive services that local tire retailers can perform quickly.  While advanced suspension and steering problems are costly and require intensive repair.
    For cars that haven’t had regular maintenance performed in awhile, another possible fix for steering wheel vibration might be a power steering flush.

    The power steering system produces an extreme amount of pressure and generates lots of heat. Contaminants build up in the system over time and they lessen the amount of fluid that passes through the power steering system’s valves.

    Sometimes a buildup of contaminants can also cause the steering system to pulsate, which is worse when the wheel is turned fully in one direction or another. A power steering flush could also be performed at local tire retailers. Talk to an ASE certified automotive professional to see if your car needs this or any other regular maintenance flushes.

    It’s always better, for a cars general health and a car owner’s wallet, to address a small problem now than a bigger problem later.

    Have you had any warning signs with your vehicle lately? What were they and what did you do as soon as you noticed them?

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