If your steering wheel begins to vibrate at speeds of 40 mph or more, your tire, wheel and possibly the brake assembly is out of balance. When this happens after miles of trouble free driving, one possible cause is that a wheel weight has come off the wheel since the tires were installed. This causes the weight of the tire and wheel to be unequal from one side to the other, and the result is vibration which is felt through the suspension of the vehicle and up through the steering column to your hands on the steering wheel. Losing a wheel weight is quite common and easily fixed, usually at no charge wherever you had the tire installed originally.
Another common cause of shaking are mechanical brake problems. If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking, then the problem is likely caused by "out of round" brake rotors. This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal. Another common problem that can cause shaking and vibration is when a brake caliper sticks. This is when the brake pad does not fully retract after engagement with the drum or disk. This type of vibration is usually felt through the brake pedal or via the seats.
Another cause of a vibration at higher speeds is uneven tread-wear. A tire that has been on a vehicle for a year more, more start to wear more on one side of the tire. This is not the sign of a manufacturing defect. More likely, the cause is a slightly mis-mounted tire. It is possible that the wheel itself has a heavy spot, which is offset by a heavy spot in the tire which is positioned at 180 degrees. If the tires are not too badly worn, having your tire installer re-install and balance the tire can usually solve the problem.
A bad shake or vibration can impact the drivability and overall handling of the vehicle. A basic maintenance check by a qualified mechanic will usually identify the correct source of the problem. If it is a tire and wheel issue, reinstallation, balancing and rotation is the usual corrective action.Read More
Custom alloy wheels can add a lot of flash to your car, particularly if you decide to change out to a larger wheel. But they do require a little extra care and attention. Here are some of the main considerations for installing and maintaining custom alloy wheels. It’s a good idea to discuss the following with your tire installer before they begin changing the tires. If they don’t have the experience or correct equipment, you should consider choosing a different service location.
- Aftermarket custom wheels usually have a high amount of aluminum in the alloy. This material, and the various types of finishing are not as durable as the steel wheels that came original equipment on your vehicle.
- Alloy custom wheels are lighter, dissipate heat better, and can be molded or forged into a huge variety of styles and design variations.
- Attention must be taken during installation. Your tire installer needs the experience to know that painted, chromed, or machined wheels are far more susceptible to scratches, scrapes and bending compared to the steel wheels.
- The service location needs to have up-to-date mounting and balancing equipment to handle custom alloy wheels. Check to see if the “duck head” on the mounting machine is plastic or coated.The duck head is the clamp that is inserted between the wheel and the tire, and turns around the rim during the mount and dismount procedure.The clamps that attach the wheel to the machine should also be coated to avoid scratches that inevitably happen with metal on metal.
- Tire beads must be thoroughly lubricated during the mounting process. If the tire beads don’t seat on the wheel at 40 psi, the tire technician should stop the process and re-lubricate the beads. Too much force on the tire with a tire bar could lead to damage.
- Ask that tape weights are used instead of clip-on weights to balance the tire. Tape style weights are positioned in the barrel of the wheel and are not as visible clip-on wheel weights, are more firmly fixed to the wheel, and are more resistant to corrosion.
- Alloy wheels should be cleaned on a regular basis. If you live in an area where salt and chemical solutions are used on the roads in the winter, it is particularly important to wash your wheels every week with soap and a soft brush.
So, to protect your new tires and aftermarket wheel investment, ask plenty of questions of your tire installer, choose a service location with experienced mechanics and up-to-date equipment, and keep your new wheels looking great with regular cleaning.Read More
Unless your vehicle is equipped with runflat tires, your vehicle comes with a spare tire that needs to be checked from time to time. It is useless to be driving around with a flat, or otherwise inoperable tire in the trunk of your vehicle. Even if you have a road side assistance program, and never intend to change the tire yourself, it is important to keep your spare and tire changing equipment in operating condition. The emergency service provider may elect to change the tire where you are stranded, rather than send a Wrecker to flat bed or tow the vehicle. During busy travel weekends, your emergency service provider may be unavailable to send the wrecker or mobile service truck, in which case you are may be forced to change the tire yourself. Your flat tire may leave you stranded in an area where it is best to change the tire yourself in the interest of time and safety. Also, your tire size may not be available at the service center, which could mean a delay for them to find the appropriate replacement. In any of these situations, having the spare is imperative for safety and convenience.
There are three different types of spare tires you may find come equipped with your vehicle.
- A full-size spare tire and wheel is just like any of your other tires. These are common on mid-size and full size SUVs, pick-up trucks and some sporty sedans. Most full-size spares are the exact size and mounted on the same wheel as the other tires. In this case, it is a good idea to include your spare tire in your regular rotation sequence, which helps keep all the tires lasting longer. When you go to replace your tires, you can purchase in a set of five, keeping one tire at a time stored in the vehicle in case of emergency. Full-size spare tires allow you to drive as far as you need, for as long as you like.
- Some vehicles come with full-size temporary spare tires. These tires accurately match the original tire dimensions, but the wheel and tire could be made from lightweight materials that won't hold up over long distances. These tires are intended for use only in emergencies as a temporary replacement. A temporary spare tire will be marked as such, so you can know the difference by checking the sidewall of the spare tire.
- The most common spare tire are compact temporary spares. These tires are specially designed to fit into a compact space, but still be serviceable on a temporary basis. Never attempt to use a compact temporary spare on another vehicle to the vehicle it came with. Also, the smaller dimensions of these tires require them to be inflated to a higher air pressure than the rest of your tires. Compact temporary spares are meant to get you from the side of the road to a tire dealer that can replace or fix your flat tire.
Regardless of which type of spare tire your vehicle is equipped with, the process to safely change the tire is the same. See the tires-easy.com How to Safely Change Your Tires or our other Knowledge Base article for a step-by-step explanation.Read More