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How to Take Care of Your Tires!

Tire Inflation Guidelines Front-end Alignments

Tire Rotation
Tire rotation is an aspect of tire service that is often ignored.   Tire rotation can help equalize tread wear and greatly extent tire life. This is usually performed at 3,750 (usually minivans), 5,000 (usually trucks) or 7,500 (most passenger cars) miles depending on the type of tire and vehicle.  Check your owner's manual for recommended mileages.

Tire Rotation Charts

Nondirectional Tire Rotation
Unidirectional Tire Rotation
4 Wheel Drive Nondirectional Tire Rotation

Front Wheel Drive Vehicles with Nondirectional Tires

Tire Wear Patterns

These are pictures of the most common type of tire wear patterns and why they happen.

Tire Wear Patterns

Tire Balancing

Tire balancing is not usually a regular maintenance. Tires usually go out of balance due to hitting a pothole or losing a balancing weight due to some type of driving or handling stress on the wheel.   Vehicle's symptoms could include wheel shimmy, tire waddle, tire thump or wheel hop.

Two Types of Tire Balancing
Static Tire Balance

dynamic tire imbalance

Tire Inflation Guidelines

Proper tire inflation is another area that requires routine checking and maintenace.  Proper tire inflation can have a dramatic effect on tire life, on fuel economy, and safety of vehicle steering and handling.

  • Do not bleed off air from a hot tire to bring inflaton pressure within specs.  A pressure reading on a hot tire is not accurate.
  • Check inflation pressure with the tires cold.  The vehicle should not have been driven for at least three hours
  • Do not fill the tire to the maximum inflation rate listed on the tire, follow the recommendations on the tire inflation in the vehicle owner's manual, on the inside of the driver's door or on the glove compartment lid.
Here are two examples of where to find the proper tire inflation guidelines for your vehicle on the inside of the driver's door. The first one is from my wife's 1999 GMC 2500. The second is from my Dodge Ram 1500.

Tire Inflation

Tire Inflation

Front-end Alignments
Alignments are not a regular maintenance item.  It is a type of repair resulting from minor damage to the front end by hitting potholes, curbs or other types of accidents.  It may also be required after replacing shocks, struts or other type of front-end suspension work.

The purpose of alignment angles in suspension design is to allow the tires to track straight when the vehicle is in motion, to provide optimum high and low speed handling and steering response, to minimize body sway during cornering and to minimize tire wear such as camber wear.

Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the wheel and tire relative to the chassis.
Camber Tire Wear

See example of camber alignment.

Camber Tire Alignment

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