Yielding Inappropriately – Do’s and Don’t of Merging.

We’ve all seen the red and white triangle “Yield” signs. What does it mean?

So this is just gonna be a little rant about Yielding in traffic. Today I saw something that frustrated me. Someone who didn’t know how to use a yield. The Yield sign is not something that means the other person gets to go first just because. Yield in my mind means in the event that you cannot navigate the roadway without impeding those who have the right away, you need to accelerate, slow, or stop and let the other person(s) proceed through until you can enter safely.

yield sign
A. Yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection or that is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard; and Having yielded, an operator may proceed. All other operators approaching the intersection shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle so proceeding. – http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/29-A/title29-Asec2057.html

So I’m sitting at a light waiting to turn left with my signal on, the light turns green, and just as I start to move someone coming from the other direction wanting to take a right enters the ‘yield ramp’ to turn. They proceeded to come to a complete stop even though they had plenty of time to proceed through before I even came close to being in the yield zone, causing the person behind them to slam on their brakes to avoid an accident. They had PLENTY of time until they would have impeded my travel onto the road. Yield does not mean stop and let the other person go. It means take caution, time your yield correctly, don’t proceed until you can.

merging

If you can go, go! Don’t think your being polite by stopping and letting someone else go before you just cause you have the yield sign. The person behind you is also looking around studying the intersection to execute their own yield. If you slam on your brakes when they’re not looking it can cause an accident. It really pisses me off when people do this and I’m behind them. I’m not saying too just bust out in front of cars either. If you get in an accident where you didn’t have the right of way it makes it hard to prove your not at fault even if it was blatantly the other persons fault.

A really good bad example of people who don’t know how to yield are those people who like to drive down to the end of the highway entrance ramp and then stop. DO NOT DO THIS! You should be up to speed before you even get to the highway entrance. You should be checking traffic and timing your entrance onto the highway long before the end of the ramp. If there is a lot of traffic and you see an opening ACCELERATE to make your gap/entrance into traffic flow. You’re 8 Times more likely to cause an accident by driving 10mph under the speed limit than you are driving 10mph over.

A long time ago I was driving with my permit instructor. This was before they changed the old Yarmouth South entrance ramp. As I was going down this long ramp I noticed that there was a semi truck in the slow lane and it was looking like I was gonna crash into him if I kept up on my course. As I started to lift on the accelerator to touch the brake the instructor screamed at me “NOOO!!” and he pushed down on my knee slamming my foot into the accelerator. Vroom the car comes to life and now it definitely looked like I was going to run into the 18 wheeler. As the ramp started to end, the instructor gripped the wheel and steered me over into the brake down lane until I had accelerated enough to get ahead of the truck and then told me to merge over.

He yelled at me for wanting to slow down and he said that’s basically trying to cause an accident. What I learned from my instructor that day was invaluable. He did say “They don’t recommend using the break down lane as an extension. But its better than stopping if you can see that the break down lane is open and clear of vehicles. You don’t want to hit a parked car or something else that may be in the way by driving down the break down lane. You also don’t want the person behind you smashing into you and sending you out into traffic if you try to make a last effort stop.” You can avoid both of these situations by planning your entrance into traffic as soon as you have traffic in sight. When you see an opening go for it!

If you have to stop or slow down at the end of a long highway entrance ramp you have failed. When you stop the people behind you might not see you and smash into you sending you out into an even worse accident. This is because they are distracted by looking and gauging where they can make their entrance into the traffic flow too. This is actually a pretty common occurrence with on ramps and yielding. What I learned from my permit instructor still sticks with me today. If you’re to afraid to make the yield at speed, or to speed up to make it, you need to let someone else do the driving.

One last thing, if your already on the highway, and you can see cars trying to enter, move over and speed up! If you can’t move over just speed up! Don’t hit your brakes it messes everything up for everyone. You’re in traffic to move, so keep moving. Brake only when necessary to avoid accidents, as unnecessary braking causes accidents.

Ultimate Guide to Used Tires

A Comprehensive Guide to Used Tires

load of used tires on a truck
These used tires are getting a second life destined for the road again.

Used tires can be a great way to save money when maintaining a vehicle. Most salvage yards only charge $10-$20 per tire unless they’re part of a matching set. Tires are one of the most overlooked and yet durable and important components on a vehicle. Aside from the operator they are the front line of safe travel. Tires are crucial as the entire vehicle relies on them to keep it connected to the road. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that every year roughly 11,000 tire-related crashes happen. Take a few minutes and read below to brush up on tires and tire safety.

Are Used Tires Safe?

The short answer, YES! A used tire is just as safe as a new tire so long as its in good condition. Just because something is used doesn’t mean that its lower quality. You can purchase perfectly good safe used tires for pennies on the dollar from most auto recyclers. BUT, you need to possess the ability to inspect a tire before you purchase it. Knowing about tires can help prevent you from spending extra money or worse having a catastrophic failure from an unsafe tire.

Lets start by going over some basic information about the different types of tires, tire sizes and ratings, and tire maintenance.Then we will dive into some of the things to look out for when purchasing used tires.

Tire Types, Ratings, & Sizes.

Tires come in all different types, ratings, and sizes. You want to make sure you are putting the correct tires on your vehicle. The first step when searching for tires is finding out what size tires your vehicle takes. You can find this in your owners manual, on the drivers die door jam, or through a google search. If your vehicle is an AWD you may want to avoid running uneven or miss matched tires as this can cause transmission damage.

Tires have the type, size, and rating, along with the DOT information written on the sidewall. In the image below you can see the tire size is [ P215/60R16 ]. The first letter “P” stands for Passenger. You only want to use P (Passenger Metric) or LT (Light Truck Metric) and never use a trailer (ST) or temporary (T) tire on your vehicle. “215” is the width of the tire in millimeters. Then you see a slash followed by the number “60”. This 60 is the aspect ratio of the tire. Aspect ratio is the sidewall height compared to tire width. Next we see an “R” followed by the number “16”. “R” stands for Radial, and the “16” is the rim size in inches. You cannot put a 15″ tire on a 16″ rim and vice versa. I’ve had quite a few customers ask me if they can put different diameter size tires on their rims. The answer is no.

sidewall_tire_info

Once you know your tire size and rating, you want to pay attention to speed rating and the load index. You want to make sure you are not over loading or over driving your tires as this will lead to a catastrophic failure. You can find the suggested ratings for your vehicle in your owners manual or look online.

How to determine the age of a used tire?

So now that you know what size, speed, and load ratings are, you want to look at the DOT information on the tire. You only want to use DOT rated tires, as these have been tested and are safe for the road. If there is no DOT information on the tires you are looking at do not use them. The DOT number tells you where the tire was made, and most importantly when. At the very end of the DOT sequence is a 4 digit code that tells you the week and year the tires were manufactured. Do not use tires that older than 10 years.how to tell how old tires are

Inspecting The Condition of Used Tires

Now that we understand the basic information provided on the side of the tire, we need to inspect the overall condition of the tire. This is where taking your time and being thorough will ensure you get a good safe tire. Also, its important to note that most yards sell their used tires as-is where-is with no warranty or refunds so you don’t want to get stuck with a new tire swing or flower planter.

Tread Depth and Uneven Wear

The state inspection requirement is 2/32nds of tread depth. If you take a penny and stick Lincolns head into space between the tread, the tread should protrude over the tip of his head, if not the tire is below 2/32nds, near bald and dangerous. Good tread is essential to maintaining control of your vehicle. Good tread allows water and snow on the road to be pushed into the voids around the tread allowing your tire to maintain contact with the road while driving.

tread-depth-penny

Uneven wear is something to avoid as this can cause alignment and steering issues. I will usually roll the tire along the ground inspecting the “horizon” of the tire. You should notice a nice straight roll with even wear across the horizon, with no bumps or abnormalities in the tread. Sometimes tires will have broken bands inside them or bubbles and rolling is a good way to detect this. Never use tires that have bulges or weird abnormalities in the shape. even tread wear

Weather Cracking

Another thing to look for while rolling the tire is to make sure there is no “weather cracking” on the tire anywhere. Cracks are a sign the tire has started to degrade. Eventually these little cracks will begin to leak air. You can also be looking for screws, nails, or other foreign objects that may have punctured the tire. Punctures can be patched as long as they not too big, and are an inch away from the sidewall on the face of tread. If a tire has a hole along the edge of the tread or in the sidewall the tire is no good.weather cracked tire

Check the Bead

Now that you have inspected the exterior of the tire and determined it to be good, check the bead and the interior of the tire. The bead should not have any tears or major cuts in it. Sometimes you can get away with minor shallow nicks that are a result of the tire machine. But again use caution as there needs to be adequate surface area for the bead to seal inside the rim.

good and damaged tire beads

You also want to look at the inside of the tire to make sure there’s no plugs, or punctures you missed from the outside. If you see wear marks on the interior of the tire or loose rubber grounds inside then the tire is no good. This happens when the tire is driven under-inflated and the weight of the vehicle causes the rim to eat into the base of the tire. Under no circumstances should you ever use a tire that shows interior wear.

interior wear and tire plug

Directional Tires & Matching Tires

You can’t mix and match Directional and Non-Directional tires. Most tires are non-directional meaning they can be mounted either way and it won’t make a difference. If you have directional tires on your vehicle you need find directional replacements. A directional tire means the tread pattern is designed to roll in one direction. You can usually figure this out by looking at the tire sidewall. Look for an arrow with the words “rotation” printed somewhere on the side. You can also figure this out by looking at the tire tread as it won’t be asymmetrical like a non directional tire.

directional tire example

For a Maine state inspection you are allowed to run tires that don’t all match as long as they are all non-directional and put on in matching pairs. This means that the tires on the front are identical to one another, and the tires on the rear are the same. Each axle should have a matching pair in order to pass an inspection. All wheel drive vehicles need to have 4 identical tires in order to avoid mechanical damage to the transmission.

Tire Pressure

The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that keeping up on your tire pressures can save you %11 in fuel costs ever year! Tires should be regularly inspected for proper pressures and overall condition. Regularly checking the pressure will extend the life of your tires and decrease the likely hood of a catastrophic failure due to under-inflation. If your tire looks low, check it. Another useful tip is to feel your tires after you have driven (make sure there not too hot first!) as a warm tire can be a good sign of under inflation or other mechanical problems that need attention.

flat tire

In conclusion I hope this helps while your on the look out for some good used tires.  Used tires can be a great way to cut down on the cost of vehicle maintenance and save money. Not to mention getting the full use out of a tire helps to reduce waste. Who knew “recycling” could be so great!

3gs tire

If you don’t have time to go to the junkyard to find a used tires and you are looking to save money, you could try a tire shop like 3G’s tire in Portland, ME. They offer used tires mounted, balanced, and installed starting at only $35.00 per tire. You can visit their website here: http://www.3gstire.com/ or give them a call 207-772-1255.

 

Rust assured, you can save your vehicle.

Vehicles are one of the top 5 largest expenses for the average adult. Why let your investment rust away?

If you’re here to find a vehicle, fix a vehicle, sell a vehicle, or junk a vehicle, I think we can all agree they cost money.
salt covered harley truck and impala
Three top reasons vehicles are junked in Maine?

  1. Failed Inspection
  2. Mechanical Damage
  3. Accident Damage

Top Reason Vehicles Fail Inspection?

  1. Rust

Continue reading “Rust assured, you can save your vehicle.”

Exhaust repairs don’t have to be so exhausting.

Don’t get fumed over rusted/broken exhaust.

welding on car lous custom exhaust
Chris of Lou’s Custom Exhaust in Portland, ME welding up a custom exhaust for a client.


A major issue with vehicles in Maine is they are seasonally exposed to extremely corrosive chemicals. Every winter we pour metric tons of salt, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride over the roads. We then dredge our vehicles through this extremely corrosive slush. Its no wonder the life span of a vehicle in Maine is only about 10-15 years. The rust results in premature failure of exhaust systems, brake systems, fuel delivery lines, and basically any unprotected component located on the bottom of the vehicle. Vehicles don’t rust out in Maine, they rust up. Eventually rust will consume an entire vehicle. It pisses me off, and it should piss you off too. Please write your representatives about seeking alternative de-icing methods.

Continue reading “Exhaust repairs don’t have to be so exhausting.”

Metal prices on the rise!

The national average for iron shred  has been on a slow but steady rise over the last two months. PGM’s have also seen an average of $60 increase across the spectrum over the last 30 days. Copper has also seen a $.50 rise over the last 3 months.

platinum prices 9-17
Platinum prices slowly rising.

What does this mean? Well not much for the average Mainer. I doubt we will see any difference in the reflected prices before the winter off season rolls in. Usually it takes a few weeks or months before local recyclers get their prices up to speed. With winter right around the corner its expected that they may be hesitant to raise prices weary this spike won’t hold through the winter months. This is also a good indicator competition is relaxed in the state at the moment, but if things continue on this upward trend we should be experiencing a strong industry next season.