(BPT) - On any given day, some 40 million Americans stop at gas stations to fill their tanks. For many, it's a weekly routine, one they don't spend much time analyzing, but are there things you think you know about your fill-up that just aren't true?
Andrea Kaufman considers herself a fairly conscientious auto owner, but the St. Louis Park, Minnesota resident admits she doesn't know the finer details of pumping protocol. "I've heard plenty of gas station tips and tricks, but I'm not always sure which ones I should believe."
Let's set the record straight as energy experts dispel three common gas station myths.
Myth #1: It's best to buy gas early in the day.
The theory is that gasoline is denser at cooler temperatures, so you'll get more fuel per gallon early in the morning. While the basic science is correct, the experts at Consumer Reports point out two practical reasons why this is a myth.
First, most gas stations store fuel in double-walled underground tanks that keep gas at steady temperatures. Second, even if there were variations, the volume difference between gasoline at 75 versus 60 degrees Fahrenheit is just 1 percent - not enough to be noticeable at the pump.
Myth #2: It's dangerous to use a cell phone near gas pumps.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, there is no documented incident of a wireless phone causing a gas station fire or explosion.
It's true that many fuel companies post stickers on pumps warning motorists to turn off phones while refueling as cell phones could be a distraction. But the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) reports the most likely cause of fire at the pumps is static electricity created by drivers sliding in and out of vehicles. For safe refueling, PEI recommends you turn off the car engine, refrain from smoking and stay outside the vehicle.
Myth #3: All brands of gas are the same.
Like more than two-thirds of Americans, Kaufman buys gas primarily based on price and convenience. "I don't know if there is a difference between brands," she says. While all gasoline sold in the U.S. must meet federal requirements for performance, not all gas is the same.
The auto industry has a certification system for fuel. Top Tier certified gasoline includes additional detergents and fuel additives that remove engine deposits that can hurt fuel economy.
"Today's more fuel-efficient engines need higher-quality fuel for peak performance," says Akhtar Hussain, refined fuels expert at CHS, which markets Cenex brand fuels at more than 1,450 gas stations in 19 states. "Cenex TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline provides 2.5 times the cleaning power of conventional gasoline and removes deposits for better fuel economy and reduced emissions."
Our Top Tier certified gasoline keeps newer high-precision engines clean and helps older engines perform better, he adds. "It helps clean your engine every time you fill your tank." Cenex TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is available at every Cenex location. To find one near you, visit cenex.com/locations.
So much for those tank-filling myths. Now it's time to fuel up and enjoy the drive.
(BPT) - Need help finding the perfect vehicle? If you're in the market for a new car or truck, consider purchasing one you can make your own. While just about any vehicle can be transformed with a few simple products, there are certain makes and models that are more accessory-friendly than others.
To find out which vehicles those are, car shoppers can look to the winners of the SEMA Award before making their purchase. Presented annually by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade association representing the automotive customization industry, the SEMA Award is given to vehicles that can easily and affordably be improved to better fit your needs.
"The SEMA Award recognizes vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for the newest and most innovative products," says Chris Kersting, president and CEO for SEMA. A variety of different products such as seat covers, wheels, tires, suspension and exhaust can all make for a simple yet immense difference on your new ride. Here are this year's SEMA Award winners:
Hottest Car: Ford Mustang
The iconic Mustang took home the Award for Hottest Car, which is no surprise considering it is one of the most popular cars for vehicle enhancement. Whether you're adding LED headlights or a new exhaust system, both the appearance and performance can easily be upgraded on the Ford Mustang. On and off the track, this vehicle continues to be reliable, customizable and in high demand among consumers today.
Hottest Truck: Ford F-Series
One of the most popular selling lines of trucks on the market is the Ford F-Series. Because of its unlimited versatility, the F-Series is the winner of the SEMA Award for Hottest Truck. Everything from tonneau covers to protect the bed, running boards for easy access or a new air intake system for instant power gains can be upgraded, transforming your truck into a bold, new ride.
Hottest 4X4/SUV: Jeep Wrangler
As the defending champion of the hottest 4X4/SUV, the Jeep Wrangler wins its sixth SEMA Award. There are a number of different ways to turn your Wrangler into the ultimate off-road ride or just personalize it as your everyday vehicle. If you're ready to hit the trails, consider a lift kit and purchasing off-road or all-terrain tires. Ramp up that rugged look while protecting the exterior with hood mounts, fender flares or rock sliders. As an enthusiast favorite in the off-road community, the Wrangler is known for its durability, unique styling and ability to be personalized in a way completely unique to you.
Hottest Sport Compact: Ford Focus
Ford vehicles are known for being accessory friendly, so it is no surprise that the Ford Focus was named the winner of the Hottest Sport Compact. As the industry continues to grow, more and more accessories are becoming available for this market segment. Whether it's a body kit, wheel/tire package or suspension and steering systems, your Ford Focus can easily be transformed into the ultimate tuner ride.
The SEMA Award is intended to guide consumers towards the hottest trending and most accessory-friendly vehicles on the road. Consumers spend nearly $36 billion a year on products and accessories to enhance the performance and styling of today's vehicles, according to SEMA. Winners were selected by exhibiting manufacturers at the 2015 SEMA Show, the world's premier automotive specialty equipment trade event where the newest and most innovative products are introduced each year. To learn more about the 2015 SEMA Award winners, visit www.semashow.com/semaaward.
(BPT) - A tire’s tread depth significantly affects driving safety. In fact, to ensure a vehicle drives safely, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recommends a tire be replaced once its tread depth reaches 2/32nds of an inch. Winter tires should be replaced even sooner.
Worn tires cause more than just headaches for drivers. Less tread means longer braking distances and more difficulty handling a car. This is especially true in slippery conditions because the tires are not able to effectively clear water from underneath causing the vehicle to hydroplane.
The contact area between the tire and the road is dramatically reduced when tires wear out and when driving speed increases. While driving 50 mph in 1/8 inch of water, the contact patch between the tire and road is only 16 percent compared to the contact patch of a stationary vehicle.
“Unfortunately, many drivers don’t regularly check the depth of tread on their tires. People check tread depths when fitting the tires, but then blissfully forget about them for the entire season,” says Matti Morri, technical customer service manager, Nokian Tyres.
Monitoring the condition of tires throughout their lives helps drivers maintain safety on the road. So, what steps should you take to ensure you get the most out of your tires?
1. Monitor and rotate your tires.
Tires wear unevenly, especially on front wheel drive vehicles where the front tires wear down much quicker than the rear tires. For this reason, you should monitor the tread depth throughout the season and rotate tires from front to back, providing the tire size is the same on both axles.
If a set of tires are installed in the spring and used heavily until the start of autumn without being rotated, it is completely possible for the front tires to be worn down while the rear tires still have up to 70 percent of tread left.
Rotating helps to minimize the performance and grip differences between the front and rear of the car for more predictable handling.
2. How to measure tread depth.
A U.S. penny is a handy tool for measuring the main grooves in the center of a tire’s tread. Insert the penny into the main groove so that the edge of the coin touches the tread and Lincoln’s head is upside down. If the top of Lincoln’s head remains visible from the groove, the tires are fully worn.
Some new tires on the market have innovative tread wear indicators to alert drivers when their tires need replacing. In fact, all new models from Nokian Tyres come fitted with a Driving Safety Indicator (DSI) that indicates how much tread is remaining, as well as a raindrop or snowflake symbol that appears once the tire has worn down to the point where the vehicle could handle unsafely on wet roads.
3. Minimize tread wear through proper inflation.
To help extend tread life, maximize fuel economy and optimize a vehicle’s performance, it’s important to check a tire’s air pressure once per month in the summer and twice per month in the spring and fall when there are large fluctuations in temperature. Tire over-and under-inflation cause tread to wear quicker than normal and can potentially result in a dangerous blowout. Additionally, under-inflation will cause your vehicle to use more fuel (or reduce range in an electric vehicle) and diminish the performance of your vehicle as it requires more effort to for the car to move.
For the most accurate pressure reading, check the tires while they are still cold. Driving heats up the tires causing the air inside to expand resulting with an inaccurate reading. The correct tire pressure for the vehicle and tire size combination can be found on a placard in the driver’s door jamb, on the inside of the gas cap, or in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Remember also to check the pressure of the vehicle’s spare tire (if equipped).
Drivers should keep these simple tips in mind throughout the spring and summer to help ensure a safe driving vehicle and to get the most out of their tires.
Interested in Publishing on The Auto Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!