AUTONET TV


Archive for October 2023

Have a Ball! Know your Ball Joints (Ball Joints)

Posted October 29, 2023 10:49 AM

We all have joints in our own skeletal system, but did you know your vehicle has some joints of its own? One of the most important is called a ball joint.

One of the interesting things is that it's somewhat similar to the ball and socket joints we have in our hips and shoulders.  A ball joint allows two parts it joins together to move in more than one direction at the same time.

Think about your wheels.  They have to move up and down when there are bumps in the road but in sideways directions when you are making a turn. As you can see, the ball joints are important for your steering and handling to work correctly.

Since ball joints do so much, they can wear out and become loose.  When the ball wears down or the socket gets worn, there can be too much play in them.  It can get so bad that the ball can come out of the socket and your wheel can fall off, a dangerous situation.  Ball joints can also seize up.  Some of them are sealed and never require maintenance; others require periodic lubrication.

Here are some signs that your ball joints are going bad:

  • Your vehicle pulls to one side
  • You can hear a clunking noise coming from a wheel area
  • Your tires are wearing unevenly, especially on the inside

The earlier a failing ball joint is discovered, the better. The best way is to have regular inspections by a technician.  Your service facility will periodically check ball joints at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. The cost to replace them can vary widely depending on whether you have a vehicle with a 2-ball or 4-ball configuration.  Also, sometimes just the joints can be replaced, but other times they are part of a larger control arm assembly that has to have all the parts replaced at the same time. 

Your vehicle's proper steering, handling and tire wear all contribute to a better, safer driving experience.  Make sure your ball joints are up to the job.

Hans Imports
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-7785
http://www.hansimports.net



Talk to Hans Imports About New Shoes for Your Vehicle

Posted October 22, 2023 7:47 AM

Custom wheels are one way that North Kingstown folks express themselves and personalize their vehicle. But they aren't as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several factors that need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the vehicle, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most North Kingstown drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require adjustments to your vehicle suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your vehicle. Second, you can choose larger wheels and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, that doesn't mean it will fit your vehicle. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your vehicle tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in North Kingstown at Hans Imports on 7275 Post Rd can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your vehicle. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your technician may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your service advisor at Hans Imports by calling (401) 295-7785.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well; you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your vehicle engine's computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more it becomes important to have your friendly and knowledgeable Hans Imports tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your vehicle may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your vehicle that you've been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Hans Imports, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle's ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let's suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for North Kingstown drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of North Kingstown? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on RI roads? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won't be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won't be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, North Kingstown drivers should always put safety ahead of appearance. That's why you shouldn't add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Hans Imports tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as repairs down the road.

The friendly and knowledgeable auto professionals at Hans Imports want to remind North Kingstown drivers of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

Hans Imports
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-7785
http://www.hansimports.net



Trickle Down Technology

Posted October 15, 2023 10:37 AM

Recently, Nissan introduced the latest version of its Leaf, the company's electric car. It has many new features, including something called e-Pedal. It allows the driver to let up on the accelerator and, unlike a gasoline engine car, the Leaf doesn't just slowly lose speed; letting off the throttle pedal brakes the car in a very controlled way, using regenerative and sometimes friction brakes. With practice, a driver can go for a fairly long time without touching the brake pedal.

Another system, similar to those found in self-driving vehicles, can steer the car to keep it in the center of the lane using a camera and radar. It literally watches the lane markers and, of course, doesn't work well in snow that obliterates those markers. But the technology is impressive and can greatly reduce fatigue on long trips.

In fact, much of this technology has "trickled down" from research on autonomous vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control that slows down your vehicle (even to a stop) if the vehicle in front of you decelerates or stops. And we can expect these features will eventually find their way into all price levels of vehicles if the past is any indication.

There was a time anti-lock brakes were only found on premium vehicles; now they are on nearly all new vehicles. Traction and stability control are also prevalent, helping drivers reduce slippage and maintain control, thanks to computers.

With SUVs and trucks so popular, rear backup cameras help drivers see behind their tall back ends, reducing injuries, deaths and property damage. Bumper sensors and cameras allow drivers to be visually and aurally aware of their surroundings with 360° protection.

Many of these features improve our vehicle's safety and efficiency, and we can expect new technologies to crop up in the future. But just like the mechanical systems in your vehicle, it's important to maintain the electronic and computerized systems. Technicians at Hans Imports constantly train to keep up on these latest developments. Make sure all your vehicle's components are maintained in top condition.

Hans Imports
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-7785
http://www.hansimports.net



To Fix or Not To Fix (Tire Repair)

Posted October 8, 2023 9:54 AM

You know that sinking feeling when you realize one of your tires has a problem.  It may be making an odd noise or behaving oddly when you're driving.  You may hit a pothole or curb and one suddenly goes flat.  Or you may head back to your vehicle and discover it has one tire deflated without a clue of what must have happened to it.

With a lot of different tires hitting the streets these days, the issue of whether to have a tire repaired or replaced can be tricky, and we strongly recommend you have a trained technician help you make that decision. 

One of the most common causes of flat tires is picking up a screw or nail in the tread area.  Many of those can be patched and plugged if the puncture isn't more than ¼ inch/6 mm in diameter. Most tires can handle two of this type of repair, but any more and you should buy a new tire. 

If there's a puncture or bulge in the sidewall or shoulder, the rule of thumb is it's not repairable.  The sidewall doesn't have the reinforcements that the tread area does.  In fact, any puncture that's more than a ½ inch/12 mm away from the edge of the tread should not be fixed. 

Many newer vehicles have no spare tires (to save weight and fuel) and instead have a type of tire called "run-flat."  Sometimes, the only way you know they're deflated is when the tire pressure monitor alerts the driver.  Driving on them more than 50 miles/80km can render them un-repairable.  They may be fixable if you pulled off to the side of the road before driving on them too long. Our technicians can evaluate whether they can be driven further or should be replaced.

Other vehicles with no spare include a can of tire sealant and a compressor.  If you use it, tire experts say to have the tire professionally repaired as soon as possible.

If you have had a flat tire, try not to drive on it unless it's necessary to get your vehicle away from a dangerous situation.  Our technicians can evaluate any tire you may be having problems with and recommend whether repair or replacement is the best option. Your safety is riding on your tires.  

Hans Imports
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-7785
http://www.hansimports.net



When You Hear the Crash in North Kingstown: What to Do After an Accident

Posted October 1, 2023 8:52 AM

Motorists in North America drive about 3 trillion miles/4.8 trillion kilometers every year. There are over 250+ million licensed drivers, and approximately 6.2 million accidents happen every year. Unfortunately, if we're going to drive vehicles, there are going to be accidents. Knowing what to do in case of an accident can help reduce the stress and cost of the situation. It can also protect you from false claims, incorrect judgments and unjust liabilities.

Never leave the scene of an accident. This is a crime, even if the accident is not your fault. If you leave the scene, it is referred to as a “hit-and-run,” and the fines are steep in RI. You can even lose your driver's license or spend some time in jail. If someone has been injured in the accident, most laws require you to help them. You must call for help. If you can, you must also render first aid.

Call 9-1-1 or get someone else to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if there are injuries or any circumstances that require fire services, such as leaking gas, broken utility lines or, of course, flames. Put out flares, turn on your flashers or lift your hood to warn other North Kingstown motorists that there's been an accident.

File a police report. This can seem like a hassle when there are no injuries and only minor damage to vehicles. But you'd be surprised at the lawsuits and false claims that can arise from fender benders. You want a police report to protect yourself.

Don't talk about the accident with anyone except the police. After an accident, adrenaline is pumping and emotions are running high, and our first reaction is often to relive and recount our experience. Don't. Again, people can and will use your words against you, and in a highly emotional state, you may not say exactly what you mean. Entire court cases have hinged on the meaning of one misplaced word. Talk to the police. Don't admit guilt or fault, not to the police or to anyone else. People often feel guilt after an accident, but later, when details are analyzed, it turns out not to be their fault. Don't say, “I'm sorry,” but rather, “Can I help? What can I do?” Sympathy has often been misconstrued as an admission of fault. On paper, your words will sound more sterile than at the accident, and they can be used against you.

Collect contact information from everyone involved in the accident. Get the officer's name and badge number. Get the other driver's name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver's license number and expiration and insurance information. Get a description of the other vehicle as well as its license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Most insurance companies don't keep records of license plate numbers, so the VIN is the best identifier you have of another vehicle.

This is going to be too much to remember once you're in an accident. So write down or make a note on your phone with the information you need.

Ask witnesses to wait for the police to arrive. If they can't, then get their contact information. Ask them to jot down what they saw. If witnesses refuse to give you their names, write down their license plate numbers. That way the police can find them if necessary.

After the accident, call your insurance company. Also, if you have or think you might have an injury that did not require immediate care at the accident, contact your physician right away.

There's a lot North Kingstown drivers can do to prevent accidents. Defensive driving. Good car care and preventive maintenance. But if an accident does happen in the North Kingstown area, we should be prepared to handle it well. It will ease the stress of the situation and protect us from potential legal and financial harm. Be prepared. It's good auto advice in every situation. Ask our pros at Hans Imports for more safe driving tips the next time you visit.

Hans Imports
7275 Post Rd
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 295-7785
http://www.hansimports.net



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What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

Very impressed with Han's Imports. Did a nice job with maintenance on my BMW and my wife's Benz. I also appreciate the thorough check of the rest of the car as part of their 1st look at the cars. I'll be back. quotes-image
, 02/01/2024
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Anyone who dumps on this auto repair shop should literally start driving a horse and carriage. What people don't understand is that when you bring in older import vehicles from the north east United States they are prone to rust deterioration do to climatic factors. As a result, many parts are harder to replace, many need to be fabricated and even more common is the rarity of older European models (which drives the price of parts up as well as renders low availability). I've been an automotive repair technician (ASE certification, various big name certifications and even fabricated parts whilst working in small shops) for quite some time. As well, I've even taught Automotive Repair as a core coarse at the secondary level. All of that said, I'm quite certain my opinion holds merit. Thus, I can honestly say that Omar is an absolute genius. I run a small shop in a rural area and seek advice from the owner of Hans Imports (Omar). This goes beyond the scope of older European models. I often probe Omar for repair strategies, knowledge and diagnostic information on newer Imports. For what its worth, you're in good hands with Hans Imports in North Kingstown. Any of the negative cockamamie complaints are clearly the result of someone thinking they are above the knowledge, experience as well as expertise of the working man!quotes-image
, 06/25/2023