General

5 Parts On Your Car That Get Wrecked by Potholes

Spring has sprung! That means a fresh new set of potholes to ruin your commute.

We all know they can be bad news for cars, but if you’ve recently hit one (or two, or three) of those dastardly potholes, here are the components of your car you might want to check.

Tires

Your tires will absorb most of the brunt of the impact when you roll over (or into) a pothole. The dramatic bounce is far more punch than most tires were designed to take.

Some of the common injuries to a tire are: flats, tire separation and sidewall bulges.

The sharp edges of a pothole can compress the tire against the rim of your wheel, which can separate the different sections of a tire from one another.

In general, holes or cuts to the flat part of the tire that connects with the road can be patched or repaired. Punctures to the sidewall of the tire, however, mean it’s time for a new tire.

Many businesses such as Discount Tire or Costco offer insurance packages for tires. If you live in an area that sees a lot of temperature variation in winter and spring, this is a solid investment.

Exhaust

As one of the lowest-hanging parts of your car, the exhaust pipes are very susceptible to road damage. Especially in the case of deep potholes, which can cause your car to bottom out and scrape against the road.

This can result in a dent or tear in your exhaust pipes, catalytic converter or muffler. This can be more than just annoying. A hole in your exhaust system could potentially pump exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide into the interior of your car, a very dangerous situation.

Wheels

Potholes often have edges around them which are uneven, sharp and protruding, all of which are bad things for your car’s wheels.

If you hit the right size and shape pothole going fast enough, you could potentially severely dent the wheel of your car. This would, in turn, cause damage to your tire and to the rest of your vehicle.

You’d notice a dent in your wheel almost immediately, as the car would likely start to “pull” one way or the other.

Suspension

Most car suspensions, especially on your average sedan or non-off-road vehicle, are meant to be driven over relatively flat and even surfaces. While they can typically handle the occasional bump or dip in the road, potholes provide a unique and unexpected kind of impact.

Your car’s suspension is a little like your leg. When you’re running over even surfaces, there’s no problem. Step on or in something unexpected, however, and you could severely injure yourself.

Cars run the risk of denting, misaligning or even snapping a strut when they go into potholes.

Fortunately, we have everything you need to replace that strut or your entire suspension without breaking the bank. Search our inventory to see if we carry a kit for your car here.


Alignment

This is one of the more common problems you’ll face if you hit a big enough pothole. Your car’s steering will naturally go out of alignment over a long enough period of time. However, running into a pothole provides a serious jolt to all the components which are responsible for your car steering properly.

You will know if your car is out of alignment if it starts to pull or tug in one direction or another when you are driving down a straightaway. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy and inexpensive fix at most repair shops.


At Strutmasters we are all about saving our customers time, money, and frustration. Don’t ignore problems caused by potholes. They will only get worse.

Help other drivers, too! Report potholes to your local transportation bureau so that they can be fixed.

Video: John Force Suffers Third Explosion in Three Events

John Force was involved in another terrifying explosion and crash this past weekend at the Gatornationals. During his second qualifying round on Friday, the 67-year old’s engine exploded, scattering the body of the car all over the race track. Miraculously, the 16-time NHRA champ walked away unscathed.

You can see a video of the crash here:



“I really thought we had it,” said Force. “I thought we were there. In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

The only injuries Force suffered was a small cut to his hand. It didn’t even require stitches.

This latest explosion comes on the heels of the NHRA looking to curb accidents and explosions with some new rule changes. The changes were made partly in response to Force’s terrifying incident in Phoenix just two weeks before and an explosion at the season opener in Pomona.

 

We Love These Vintage Car Ads

At Strutmasters, we believe in things that are time-tested. That’s why we prefer standard coilover struts and shocks to air suspension. It’s why we insist on making our products right here in the USA. It’s why we employ people right in North Carolina to answer our phones and help our customers. Call us crazy, or perhaps just a vintage-style company, but we think sometimes the old ways are best.

We fell in love with these vintage car ads. Maybe you will too.

 

1. 1963 Buick Skylark

 

 

2. 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5. 1967 Ford Mustang GT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette

 

7. 1971 Pontiac Barracuda

 

 

 

 

NHRA Announces Rule Changes Ahead of Gatornationals

On March 12th, the NHRA announced a rule change about drivers striking the timing blocks or crossing the centerline. This new rule adds to, rather than replaces the current centerline police of disqualifying runs. Drivers will receive additional penalties for crossing the the centerline or hitting the timing blocks during any elimination or qualifying round.

The rule changes, which take effect immediately are as follows:

 

First Violation of the season will result in:

  •    Loss of five (5) NHRA series points.

 

Second Violation of the season will result in:

  •    Loss of ten (10) NHRA series points.

 

All Subsequent Violations of the season will result in:

  •    Loss of fifteen (15) NHRA series points per violation.


These stiff penalties are designed to help keep drivers safe, in a season that has already seen a series of terrifying crashes from top names like John Force and his daughter Brittany. The NHRA also hopes that these rules reduce cleanup time between runs to keep events running smoothly.

The new rules changes are in effect over the entire distance of the race, from the start line to the quarter-mile finish line. Funny Car and Top Fuel drivers which cross the centerline between the 1,000-foot finish line and the 1,320-foot finish line will result in a loss of points, but will NOT result in the standard disqualification or loss of time policy.

If there is an oil-down and centerline or timing block violation within the same run, drivers will be assessed the oil-down points policy, along with a disqualification of the run. The points will not double up.

The NHRA does not consider crossing the centerline on a burnout a violation.

Strutmasters is a proud sponsor of Clay Millican and Stringer Performance and supporter of the NHRA. 

Force Over Crash, Ready to Get Back to Racing

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has gotten off to a rough start for the Force family. Sixteen-time Funny Car champ John Force had one of the scariest crashes in recent memory Sunday, February 25th at Wild Horse Motorsports Park. Force’s daughter, Brittany, also had an intense crash two weeks earlier.

 


But the rough start hasn’t deterred one of NHRA’s all-time greats for being optimistic going forward.

 

“I feel great,” Force said. “I was in the office at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Thanks to Simpson. The helmet protected me. I have no complaints. The race car protected me. We build good race cars and we can always try and build them better.”

There is a lot of racing season left for Force and his team, who at 68 years old is still one of the sport’s household names. He wanted to clarify that while he was knocked unconscious in Phoenix, he was not, as was reported by some, knocked out at the season-opener in Phoenix.

While daughter Brittany had said that she couldn’t bring herself to watch her own crash, the veteran elder Force said he went right into dissecting the footage of his crash.

“I’ve watched it over and over trying to figure out what took place,” John Force said. “We were lucky we didn’t get into the other driver (Jonnie Lindberg). It dropped a hole early and was going perfectly straight, and in the heat of battle, you aren’t going to lift, I don’t think. You want to win, and it is going, and you think you are going to win.”

While NHRA fans may still not be able to wipe the image of the horrific crash from their minds just yet, the racing legend isn’t worried.

“John Force is good, I am healthy,” said Force. “I am going to get a couple of checkups to make sure I am OK. I was already goofy.”

4 Reasons to Convert Your Car from Air to Coil Suspension

4-reasons-to-convert

Active air suspensions are comprised of many moving parts that need to be working properly in unison for the system to function correctly. Onboard sensors send information about the ride height of the vehicle to a small computer, which in turn uses that information to tell a pneumatic compressor how much pressurized air to generate. This air is pushed through air hoses and into air springs which use the pressure to regulate the ride height of the vehicle. This creates a smooth, pleasant, ride–as long as they’re working.

The main problem with an air suspension is that, like anything made of moving parts, they will eventually wear out. Given how complex they are, that means a guaranteed huge expense at some point in a vehicle’s life.

However, more and more vehicle owners are growing weary of these repairs and replacements and are choosing to convert their cars from air suspensions to a more classical, mechanical solution–a traditional coil over strut, known in the auto world as a “coilover” suspension. These replacements are mostly carried out using a conversion kit, the first commercially-available of which was made by the North Carolina-based company Strutmasters LLC. Since that company’s inception in 1999, the industry has grown from a single company with a small assortment of products to an entire industry, with replacement kits now available for hundreds of vehicle models.
So why has the popularity of these kits grown so much in such a short amount of time? As more and more people continue to convert to coilover suspension, here are just some of the reasons why:

 

1) All air suspensions fail eventually.

Given that they are made up of a number of moving parts, car owners need to accept the reality that their air suspension system will fail eventually. While that doesn’t mean they should just ditch their air suspensions right now, it’s worth considering whether it’s really worth replacing or repairing components once they start to fail. This is because once one part fails, the rest are not too far behind. This means that more expense and hassle is always going to be right around the corner once the air suspension failure starts.

 

 

2) Coil suspensions are a fraction of the price.

 


With everything interconnected from computers to electronic sensors to several mechanical components, air suspension require expensive parts and specialty tools to service them. This means a great deal of expense any time anything needs to be serviced or replaced. When owners consider that all air suspension-related expenses are likely to be ongoing for the remainder of the car’s lifetime, replacing an old suspension with one that is brand new makes a great deal of sense in the long run. This is especially true when you consider that a conversion kit will generally cost about the same for the entire car as a replacement for just one air spring.

 

3) Coil suspensions can be installed and serviced at home.

 


 
  Companies like Strutmasters design their conversion kits to be installed at home by the average DIYer. This means that most of the assembly is done before it reaches the customer, and that it is designed to be installed using tools most people already have at home. In fact, most of these kits can be installed in as little as one hour per wheel by anyone with a little mechanical proficiency.

 

4) Coil springs are simple and reliable.

 



 Compared to the complex network of electronics and plastic and rubber components, the simple, robust construction of coilover suspensions often makes people feel more confident in their ride. Once a car gets to the point where the suspension is starting to fail, that air suspension becomes a ticking time bomb that could ruin the next road trip or family vacation at any minute. By comparison, a brand new coilover suspension gives owners virtually nothing to worry about for quite some time. And even if something does wear out prematurely or break on the coilover suspension, repairing or replacing it is cheap and easy compared to an air suspension.

If your air suspension is starting to age, it might be worth considering ending the headache once and for all by switching your car over to a coil spring over strut suspension. Hundreds of thousands of car owners have already made chosen to convert, most to full satisfaction. Companies like Strutmasters now offer kits for almost every make of car in hundreds of models. Check to see if Strutmasters has a kit for your car by visiting the website or calling the hotline at (866) 684-6473.

Top 11 Items to Always Have in Your Car

You never know where the road will take you. One minute you could be cruising down a newly paved city street and the next you could find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Make sure that you’re prepared for anything the road throws at you and stock your vehicle with these 11 things you should always keep in your car.

1. Traction Mats and Sand

Tractions mats and sand can help you get out of slippery situations—literally. When you find yourself stuck in mud, snow, or other slippery road conditions, just put a traction mat or a bit of sand in front of your wheels to get your car moving.

2. Jump Starter Kit

Nothing’s worse than being stuck somewhere because of a dead battery, so make sure that you keep a jump starter kit g in your car. Jump starter kits can give your vehicle’s battery the jolt of power needed to get the car running and get you home.

3. Flashlight

You never know if you’re going break down at night, so always keep a flashlight in your car. This will help you get a look at any issues under the hood as well as any other areas you may need to survey. Plus using a flashlight can help to conserve your car’s battery.

4. Tire Inflator or Sealer

If you get a flat on the way to work or any other destination, you’ll wish you had a tire inflator or sealer in your car. These will inflate your tires to the appropriate air pressure. However, these only provide a temporary solution. To make sure that your tires stay properly inflated, get them replaced as soon as possible.

5. Cell Phone Charger

You never know when you’ll need to get in contact with someone, so it’s always best to have a way to keep your phone charged. Keep a spare phone charge cable or portable battery in your car. Just make sure to recharge the portable battery from time to time so there’s enough juice in it to power your phone when needed.

6. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must-have for any vehicle. You want to make sure that yours is stocked with band aids, antibiotic ointment, and anything else that can help to alleviate minor injuries from an accident or other incidents.

7. Flares and Reflective Triangles

Flares and reflective triangles are especially useful when you’re stuck on the side of the road at night. When lit, they’ll make your vehicle more visible to others on the road to help prevent accidents and help emergency services find you and your vehicle in the dark.

8. Umbrella

The weather can be fickle. You never know when you’ll have to walk through a freak rainstorm, so always keep an umbrella in your car to keep yourself dry.

9. Duct Tape

It’s true what they say: Duct tape can just about fix anything. Granted duct tape only offers temporary solutions, but keeping it handy will help to control minor damage in your car long enough so you can get to the nearest service center for a proper repair.

10. Blankets

Make sure that you have at least one blanket in your car. This will keep you or your passengers warm and keep tools clean when performing quick repairs. Plus blankets can act as a makeshift cover that’ll keep your seats clean when you need to carry dirty items.

11. Water

Always store some water bottles in your car. This emergency stash could be a life saver if you’re stranded for a long period of time.

You never know where the road will take you, but you can always make sure that you’re prepared for the unexpected by keeping these 11 things in your car at all times.

Hydraulic Suspension vs. Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

Hydraulic suspension and car air bag suspension kits are two of the most popular suspension systems around. Both can improve performance for many vehicles, but which is best?

To discover the right suspension kit for you, check out our in-depth hydraulic suspension vs. car air bag suspension kits comparison below.

About Hydraulic Suspension Kits

This type of suspension features four independent dampers that contain hydraulic fluid. As you travel, a hydraulic pump pressurizes each damper to regulate your vehicle’s up and down movements. This helps to keep your car stable and riding smoothly when traveling across rough terrain and weather conditions.

Hydraulic suspension kits have the advantage of being completely customizable. Because every damper included in the kit is independent, drivers can adjust each one separately. Simply put, you’ll be able to control how high or low each one can go.

On top of that, some hydraulic suspension can modify each damper automatically. Using advanced sensors, these systems monitor the road conditions and relay that information back to an onboard computer. If the stiffness of the dampers or the ride height needs to be adjusted, the system will turn on a hydraulic pump to pressurize the fluid the dampers to cater to the terrain. This ensures a smooth ride and great handling.

Hydraulic suspension kits aren’t perfect though. Those considering installing one for their vehicle must understand that there are a few disadvantages to this particular suspension kit. For instance, replacing parts and maintaining hydraulic suspension can be quite expensive. On top of that, they can be less responsive than other suspension kits.

About Car Air Bag Suspension Kits

Like a hydraulic system, a car air bag suspension helps to promote a smooth ride. However, they do it in a different way. Instead of using fluid and dampers, car air bag suspension kits use durable rubber air bags to enhance performance. These bags are installed at each wheel and inflated by a compressor.

In addition, car air bag suspension kits aren’t fully automatic. This means that many kits can’t instantly adjust the air bags to adapt to changing road conditions. However, car air bag suspension kits offer something hydraulic kits don’t: enhanced load capabilities.

Most car air bag suspension kits are designed to adjust the ride height to improve performance when towing and hauling heavy objects or additional passengers. When installed, drivers can push a button to raise or lower the vehicle. Raising the vehicle when carrying cargo will accommodate the extra weight and keep the car level when traveling. This will also prevent bottoming out and rear end sagging. Lowering the car will enhance aerodynamic and performance.

Choosing the Right Suspension Kit

Both a hydraulic suspension and a car bag suspension kit provide great performance benefits. With that said, the best suspension kit will depend your specific needs. Those who regularly tow heavy items can choose a car air bag suspension kit for stability. Drivers looking to ensure a great performance in any condition can install a hydraulic suspension kit for improved handling.

For more information about hydraulic suspension and car air bag suspension kits, contact Strutmasters online now.

Air Suspension Kits vs. Coilover Suspension

Air suspension kits and coilovers are two of the most popular suspension kits available. They’re both designed to help your car drive smoothly and efficiently, but which is right for you?

Both air suspension kits and coilovers have their own pros and cons. So to help you choose the right suspension kit, check out the guide below.

Air Suspension Kits

brochure-sideAir suspension systems are made up of air springs or air bags located at each wheel of the vehicle. An onboard electric air compressor inflates each bag until they lift your vehicle to your desired ride height.

Installing an air suspension kit for your vehicle will present a number of great benefits. For example, air suspension kits are known to deliver a smoother performance that other suspensions. This is because the air springs can absorb road energy more effectively.

Air suspension kits are also adjustable. This means you’ll be able to adjust the height and the stiffness of the system to your exact preferences. With the simple push of a button, the compressor can inflate or deflate each air spring as needed to help your car produce the exact performance you want.

Best of all, air suspension kits can improve carrying capabilities. When your vehicle is lifted, the air springs can support any extra weight in the cargo area and passenger area. So as you travel, your car stays level, which reduces the risk of bottoming out, rear end sag, and excessive tire wear and tear.

While air suspension kits help your car achieve a great performance, there are a few drawbacks you should consider. For example, air suspension parts deteriorate and break down faster than others.

Coilover Suspension Kits

Coilover suspension kits use traditional coil springs to adjust the height of your vehicle. Some kits will raise your car while others can lower its stance for improved performance. They’ll also work to support your vehicle to enhances its load and towing capacities.

However, unlike air suspension kits, coilover kits only use springs to help your car achieve a smooth performance. With that said, coilovers aren’t as versatile as air suspension kits. You can switch out the coils to experience a softer or firmer performance or a different ride height, but it won’t be as easy as pushing a button.

Fortunately, coilover suspension kits do have some exclusive benefits. For example, they’re known to be more durable than air suspension kits. This means they’ll be able to withstand wear and tear more and last longer than air suspension parts.

Choosing Your Suspension Kit

Both an air suspension kit and a coilover suspension kit deliver a great performance for most cars. With that said, choosing one for your vehicle will depend on your specific needs.

So if you’re looking for a convenient way to adjust the stiffness and ride height of your car, consider an air suspension kit. If you want something that’s durable and dependable, install a coilover suspension kit.

Contact Strutmasters online for more information about air suspension kits vs. coilover suspension kits.