Much of your safety on the road is determined by “where the rubber meets the road.” So, for optimal safety, you need to make sure that your tires are in good condition and responsive to your steering command, and that takes a number of tire and wheel maintenance practices—wheel alignment, tire tread checks and tire rotation and balancing.
A Quick Guide to Comprehensive Wheel and Tire Maintenance
In order to make sure your car has a good grip on the driving surface and responds to steering, the wheels and the tires need to be in good health. Maintenance that keeps them in good condition include:
- Wheel alignment—this type of maintenance corrects rotation angles in three different planes to ensure that your tires fully and evenly contact the road.
- Tire tread depth measurement—tires are considered “bald” when only 2/32” of tread depth remains. You can check tread depth using a quarter or penny. (We’ve explained this before…read this.) Worn tires need to be replaced, plain and simple.
- Tire rotation—braking and drivetrain systems tend to cause uneven wear between front and rear tires. Rotating them helps ensure even wear to prevent untimely replacement of two tires.
- Tire balancing—unbeknownst to most drivers, wheels and tires are not perfect circles, so the rate at which they spin does not match that of the axle. The imbalance can be corrected by adding weights—i.e., counterbalances. Over time, these weights between the wheels and tires shift, creating new areas of imbalance. The balancing process redistributes the weight to eliminate vibrations.
Unfortunately, the last two are often neglected. But, here’s why you should routinely get your tires rotated and balanced:
To Extend the Life of Your Tires and Save You Money
Uneven wear on your tires can cause a number of problems:
- Patch wear
- Exposed steel belt
All of these issues affect your tires’ ability to grip the road and stop. Some types of tire damage can also make your tires more susceptible to blowouts, which almost inevitably result in a complete loss of steering control (at least for a few seconds—long enough to significantly increase your risk for accidents).
With the exception of some punctures, tire damage is generally unrepairable. You just have to get new tires. Tires aren’t cheap…and usually, if one needs replacement, so do others, and that just multiplies the expense.
By helping to prevent uneven wear, tire rotation and balancing can help you keep your tires longer, reducing lifetime maintenance costs for your vehicle.
To Enjoy a Smoother Ride
While you may not notice uneven wear from the driver’s seat, you could, very well, notice tire imbalances because they increase vibrations you can feel beneath your feet. If left unchecked, these imbalances will cause uneven wear in your suspension, which can lead to alignment problems…and that means you may notice your car pulling to one side or the other, so it takes more muscle to keep your steering wheel centered.
Tire balancing reduces extra vibration for a smoother ride (so it’s easier to sip your coffee without spilling during your morning commute).
Quanz Auto Body performs every type of wheel and tire maintenance. We have state-of-the-art alignment and balancing equipment to restore your suspension, wheels and tires to manufacturer specifications. For customers who see us for routine maintenance, like oil and filter changes, we keep track of your tire rotation, too, to make sure it’s done approximately every 6,000 miles. Contact or visit us to tend to your wheel and tire health.