Tires are one of the most important safety items on your car. Improper tire pressure, alignment, or tire balance will affect both the performance and life of your tires. Any one of these items may result in diminished handling characteristics and jeopardize the safety of you, your passengers, and those sharing the road with you. Frequently, it is only when we are in inclement weather or adverse driving conditions that we realize how much we expect from our tires. Poorly maintained tires will also affect the ride comfort of your car. Short of filling the tank, or cleaning the windshield, it is quite possibly the simplest item to maintain on your car. It is best to periodically inspect your tires and check or set the pressures to the proper level as needed.
Don’t forget the spare tire; you never know when you may need it! Simply, there are no reasons to ignore your tires or the cost to your safety or pocketbook. It is best to check and set your tire pressures every 2-4 weeks. Even if you don’t drive many miles, changes in the ambient temperature and barometric pressures can cause fluctuations in tire pressures. When filling your tank, park the car with your front wheels turned hard to one direction. This will allow for easy inspection of the inner and outer tread on your front tires. Inspect for unusual wear patterns on the tread, and inspect the sidewall of the tire. If you see any unusual bulging or bumps on the sidewall of the tire, seek professional advice and avoid highway driving. Additionally, this will help you to monitor for possible need for tire rotation, alignment or replacement. To inspect the rear tires, place one hand on the rear bumper, drop a knee and bend to fully inspect these tires in the same manner. Make a point of performing these visual inspections on a monthly interval and before any extended highway driving.
In the unfortunate event of a flat tire, the best advice is “be prepared”. Read your owners’ handbook for the car. Familiarize yourself with the location of the jack, related tools, and the location under the car to fit the jack. Also, it’s a good idea to purchase an auto safety kit. These kits will frequently include tools, and a flashlight, which can make the task of changing a flat tire less painful. Another good tool would be a piece of lumber, a 2”x8” board cut about 12” long. If your car is parked on soft ground, the lumber placed beneath the foot of the jack will offer greater stability and lessen the chance of the jack falling and possible damage to the car or injury to yourself. Be prepared. A flat tire never happens at the service shop.
If you do experience a flat tire, drive the shortest distance to a safe area and park the car. Whether you wait on assistance from someone else, or you choose to change the tire yourself, a flat, level area devoid of fast moving traffic should be your first concern for the safety of all. In today’s cars, many exotic metal alloys are used in the wheels. If the wheel nuts or studs are over-tightened, this can result in damage to the threads, and make it impossible to remove the wheel. You may also discover bonding of the wheel nut or stud from electrolysis. Proper application of an anti-seize compound on the wheel nut or stud threads, and tightening to proper torque specifications will prevent such a scenario. Failure to follow the correct maintenance of your wheels could result in an unfortunate discovery as to the quality of service you’ve been paying for. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with performing this task “sight unseen”, stop by EuroWerks and let us show you how to handle an easy task that could seem impossible due to lack of familiarity.