Tires and Wheels
Proper Tire Care
Taking care of your tires will help them last longer. Most of this can be done quickly and easily, whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or they are done by your local Meineke dealer.
What is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment is making sure the wheels are running parallel to one another, and that the tires meet the road at the proper angle. It is done by adjusting the angles between the suspension and steering parts, the wheels, and the vehicle frame. Everyday driving with the shocks and bumps associated with it can cause the tire angles to get knocked out of line. When this happens, it can cause the vehicle to handle badly or the tires to wear unevenly.
What are some signs that my vehicle needs a wheel alignment?
Most alignment warning signs are easy to spot...
Unusual tire wear - tires are worn in a cupped, scalloped or diagonal stripe pattern at edges or across the tread, or wear is uneven with "feathered" edges on the treads.
Unusual steering feel - the steering feels stiffer than it should, or the wheel does not return to the center position when released. The steering wheel is cocked to one side when the front wheels are pointing straight ahead.
The vehicle tends to pull to one side while driving, or tends to wander or weave, or is subject to front end "shimmy."
The process of tire balancing is when the weight of the tire, when mounted on its wheel and the vehicle's axle, is uniformly distributed around the axle. Or, in simple terms, there are no heavy spots on the tire.
An out of balance tire can affect ride quality, shorten the life of tires, bearings, shocks and other suspension components. If your vehicle has a vibration that is dependent on speed, and usually becomes noticeable around 40-45 mph and increases as your speed increases, it's probably balance related.
Tire balancing is achieved by adding weight across the tire from the heavy spot to "balance" things out.
Why should I rotate my tires?
As you drive along the road, your tire tread is rubbing off on the road surface. That is what is known as tire wear. Tire rotation ensures that all of the tires wear evenly in order to extend the length of the tire's life on your vehicle. You see, front tires wear on the outside because the tire leans over when you turn the vehicle. Rear tires wear much less because they follow the front tires. So, in order to make sure the tires wear evenly, you want to change which tires are in the front to keep one pair of tires from wearing out too quickly.
When should I rotate my tires?
Most technicians recommend tire rotation every 6,000 to 7,500 miles. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for your manufacturer's recommendations.
Proper Air Pressure
Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and cause vehicle overloading. Check the air pressure in your tires every other time you stop to fill up for gas. The correct air pressure may be found in the vehicle owner's manual or on the placard (on the vehicle door edge, doorpost, glove compartment door, or gas door).
Shocks & Struts
Weak shocks and struts won't necessarily create a driving hazard if you continue to drive on them, but there are studies that show worn shocks/struts increase the distance it takes to stop a vehicle on a rough surface; it can also increase the risk of skidding on wet or slick surfaces. Worn shocks/struts also increase suspension wear and can have an effect on tire wear.