A tie rod consists of an inner and outer end, and is part of the steering mechanism in a vehicle. The tie rod transmits force from the steering center link or rack gear to the steering knuckle, which will cause the wheel to turn. The outer tie rod end connects with an adjusting sleeve, allowing the length of the tie rod to be adjustable. This adjustment is used to set a vehicle’s alignment angle.
Tie rod ends are a wearing part of the steering and suspension system of your vehicle, and should be regularly inspected with each oil change service, by a qualified technician. As tie rod ends wear, they can become loose and can develop excessive slack, or play, which can be felt in the steering and handling of the vehicle. Tie rod ends are critical to maintaining proper vehicle front suspension alignment. Bad tie rods can negatively impact a vehicle’s front end alignment and lead to excessive tire wear and front suspension problems.
The most common signs of bad tie rod ends are: vehicle pulling to one side during operation, uneven tire wear, shaking, vibration, looseness, or a wandering or erratic feel to the steering of the vehicle, and squeaking noises coming from the front end of the vehicle.
If a tie rod end fails completely a driver will loose the ability to steer and control the vehicle. Regular inspections of the tie rod ends and replacing them when it is either advised or as symptoms start to occur is recommended. It is also recommended to have an alignment performed or at least checked once these parts are replaced. Contact Mark or Tom at Tom's Auto Service to ensure that your vehicle is in top operating condition.
According to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study conducted in 2012, texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
To ensure that you fully understand how much of a risk this is, you don’t have to look any further than a test conducted by Car and Driver Magazine in 2009. The company setup a car that would alert drivers when to hit the brakes. From there, they tested how long it took the driver to make this decision when sober, drunk, reading an email, and sending a text message.
When driving a 70 miles per hour, the driver was slower to react when sending an email or texting. Here are the astonishing results, based on .54 seconds for an unimpaired driver to brake:
As you can see, drivers are slow to react when sending a text message or reading an email. Adding 70 feet before stopping could be the difference between staying safe and causing an accident.
The reason for this is that texting and driving involves three types of distracted driving:
In 2012 alone, approximately 1.6 million accidents were related to texting while driving. Furthermore, 11 teenagers died everyday as a result of this activity.
Texting while driving is the leading cause of death among teenage drivers. Unfortunately, many teens continue to take part in this activity, even though they are aware of the risks as well as the laws enforced in their state.
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 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.
Vehicles 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 motorists.
So it’s to car owners' 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 drivers than do bargain 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.
Auto owners 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, your filter will need to be changed more often.
You can also purchase cleaners at Tom's Auto Service 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 Tom's Auto Service that will result in better fuel economy 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.