Auto Maintenance: Tires

Tire maintenance is important for the longest life of your tires as well as the safety of your family.  There are important aspects of tire maintenance we will cover in this article.  Many of the first hints that you may need to check your tires are actually heard before they are seen.

If you hear grinding at any time when you are driving, that is something you need to have checked out.  There are probably more than a dozen reasons this could be happening, and it is best to have your local auto repair technician check it out to make sure that you are getting the right diagnosis.  The worst thing you can do is to have one of your friends to do a shade tree diagnosis that may make you think that you can put off a car repair that a professionally trained car repair technician would know that you need immediately.  The hilly areas of Austin, Texas are really hard on brake systems and transmissions in your car, as well as your tires, so you need to stay on top of your auto maintenance.

Your tires are very important in keeping you and your family safe.  They are the tools your car uses to move, steer and to stop your vehicle.  This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is true.  There are steering systems, braking systems, and an engine and transmission in your car, but they all depend on your tires for the contact with the road they need to deliver.  For this reason, proper maintenance of your tires is critical.  You have to make sure that your tires are properly inflated, and that the tread on them is in good shape.  I have some tips that follow to help you in assessing your tires as you go, in between visits to your car repair professional.

First, observe.  Every time you get into your car, you walk out to it.  Take a look at the tread as you walk toward your car.  If you have a pickup truck, you especially need to watch your tires.  Trucks sometimes have a tendency to cause the front tires to “cup” if the front end is starting to wear out.  If this is happening, you should take it in immediately.  Cupping is when you have alternate parts of the inside of your tread that is wearing unevenly.  You can actually hear it when you drive as a “wah wah” kind of sound, going faster and slower directly with the speed of your vehicle.  Sometimes this is caused by putting on over-sized tires, which many truck owners do to make the truck look “cool”.  If you are making this kind of decision about your tires, you should consider all of the facts.  Your tires will wear out a lot faster at this rate, even if you rotate them properly.  Talk to your car repair professional here in Austin to find out what is the best route for you to take.

Second, listen.  Even though it is hotter than blazes here in Austin, Texas in the summer, ride with your windows down and the radio off at least once per week.  Little things you can not see will show up in what you can hear.  Things like nails stuck in your tires, odd wearing, tires rubbing on parts of your car, all of these are things that become apparent when listening.  You would never hear them if your windows are up and the air conditioning is cranking, though.

Third, feel.  When you put your feet on the brakes and your hands on the wheel, these are two tactile touch points that will tell you a lot about your car.  As you put your feet on the brakes, any unevenness that you might feel is a problem.  If you hear a uneven grinding, or feel anything that might seem out of the ordinary, you need to take your car in to your auto repair technician.  These are a good starting point to keeping yourself aware, but nothing beats professional assistance.

Drive Safely ~ Winn

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