Service and Tire Maintenance Tips

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Why aren't tuner tires "four for $99"?

Tuner Tire Sticker Shock

It's true: there are people who buy performance vehicles complete with tuner tires, and mistakenly expect to purchase replacement tuner tires at economy car prices. Don't be fooled--performance cars, performance parts, tuner tires and other options cost money - more than standard parts for what driving enthusiasts call "econobox" cars. If you are the proud owner of a car with tuner tires and other specialized features, you may wish to consider starting a special savings account to help offset the higher costs of specialty replacement parts such as tuner tires, plus the tire service expenses. Save a little now, and fret less when you have to go in for routine tire service.

Why are my tires vibrating?

My Tires Are Vibrating!

Tire vibration can indicate more serious problems with alignment, suspension and steering system. You may not have a problem with your tuner tires, yet. Tire service may be part of the package once you get your vehicle to a garage to find out what's wrong. Never ignore that vibration; your vehicle is definitely trying to tell you something! At the very least, ignoring the problem can cause undue wear on both your tuner tires and the vehicle's suspension. Your shocks can be affected, your ride will become noisy and your tires will wear faster, and unevenly.

Why are my tires squealing?

Why Are My Tires Squealing?

If you hear squealing from your regular or tuner tires, you could be dealing with under-inflated tires. You may also have tires that are at the end of their life. If so, it's time to get some new ones. Your tire service should include new tires, wheel balance and, after a recommended number of miles, tire rotation. Many drivers often overlook tire maintenance, so chances are you could be hearing the squealing earlier than necessary. Avoid the squeal with regular tire maintenance-the rotation, good wheel balance, and properly inflated tires.

When is it Time For Tire Service?

When is it Time For Tire Service?

The best indicator for tire service is often the result of a regular inspection of your tires. Have a good look at them once a month, and check for nails, low pressure, tread wear and overall appearance. Are your tires cracked and worn? Can you see a set of bands? These are wear indicators and if you spot them, it is definitely time for tire maintenance--get a new set of tires. Industry statistics show more people wash their cars than check tire pressure. If you are one of the guilty "non-checkers" it's definitely time for a good hard look at your tires. Tire maintenance isn't as painful as it sounds if you stay aware of the state of your tires.

Can I check my air pressure on the road and get an accurate reading?

Care and Feeding of Tuner Tires: Part Two

Did you know that your tuner tire pressure increases up to 8 pounds per square inch when running "hot?" A long drive can give you a misleading read on the tire gauge. Don't bleed your tuner tires based on the readings you get during a gas stop. The most accurate tire gauge reading is "cold", which means the vehicle has been sitting for about three hours. You should check the pressure in your spare tuner tire as well, as it loses pressure each month and with temperature drops. Some garages are offering nitrogen as part of the inflating air for your tires, which can slow down the rate of air loss. Ask your mechanic if that option is available in your area.

What is wrong with using an air wrench on my tuner tires?

Care and Feeding of Tuner Tires: Part One

If you have your tires installed, balanced or get an alignment job done at most garages, you will notice the use of air wrenches to tighten the lugs of your tuner tires. Torquing by hand is much better for custom wheels. If you are very picky about your tuner tires and custom wheels, ask for hand torquing. This can reduce the risk of an improperly tightened bolt, which can result in vibrating wheels. Vibrations in the wheel can lead to other problems in the suspension, so it's crucial to get the job done properly the first time around. Badly torqued bolts can also damage your custom hubs. The hand torque procedure is best.

Am I Being Scammed?

Am I Being Scammed?

If you take a vehicle to the shop for tire maintenance, you may be told that you picked up a nail or other sharp object. There are tire punctures that cannot be safely patched. While many people believe they are being scammed by a repair shop into buying a brand new tire, the fact is there are industry regulations governing unsafe patching of tire punctures. Tire service sometimes involves biting the bullet and shelling out for a new tire, or preferably a new set of tires. When your mechanic informs you of an unfixable flat, he or she is doing you a big favor in the safety department.

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Heidi Splete