Let’s talk about making your tires last longer with regular tire rotation and wheel balancing. Let’s start with tire rotation. In normal driving, your front tires wear more on the shoulders, because they handle much of the cornering forces in turns. Front-wheel drive vehicles have even more force on the front tires. We rotate the tires so that all the tires do some duty on the front end, as well as getting a little break on the back end.
That way all four tires wear more evenly over their life and last longer. You may have heard tires are always rotated front to back. Is that true? For most vehicles, yes. Some manufacturers recommend a cross-rotational pattern that includes the spare tire, and some high-performance vehicles have a different-sized tire on the front and in the rear and may even have unidirectional tires that can only be on the left or right side of the vehicle. Your Elite Service Advisor can help you sort that out and will perform the right tire rotation for your vehicle. Your tire manufacturer will have a recommendation for how often you should rotate your tires. It’s usually somewhere around 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Now, let’s move onto wheel balancing. That’s when there are heavy spots on the tires and wheels that cause a bit of wobble. So, balancing adds weight to the wheel to balance it out. Why would a wheel be out of balance in the first place? First of all, we’re talking about very small weight differences. Variations in the tire and wheel manufacturer can cause a slight imbalance. The valve stem and now the tire pressure monitoring sensors in the tire also play into the equation. Even small differences can cause annoying vibrations at speed. The wheel is essentially bouncing a bit as it goes down the road. For example, at freeway speeds, an out-of-balance wheel can be slamming into the ground 14 times a second! So, it’s not only annoying, but you can also cause your tires to wear out more quickly. If a front wheel is out of balance, you’ll feel the vibration through the steering wheel. When it’s a rear tire, you’ll feel the vibration through your seat. If you’re getting bad vibes from your vehicle, bring it in and see if it’s a balance issue or something else. You should balance your wheels whenever you get a new tire or remount a tire, like when it’s been removed for a flat repair. But, if you’re getting those bad vibes now, bring it in and let us have a look.
All of us that have ever owned a vehicle, know that parts wear out and break down, occasionally leaving us on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Regular servicing and maintenance can help diagnose small issues before they become huge repairs, but no matter how much you keep your car in top shape, repairs are simply a fact of life for car owners. Depending on the type of repair needed, costs can be minimal or you might seem you need a second mortgage in order to pay the mechanic.
When the oil gets low, we pop the hood, look for the small yellow cap, and pour in the quart. But do we ever look at the rest of what’s going on under the hood? If we venture a little farther than the oil cap, we might understand that the battery helps start the car. We might discover that the alternator recharges the battery while the car is running.