Tire Rotation and Balancing
Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something's wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn't do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something.
There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road. One of the most common is out-of-balance tires. You may not only feel that wobble in your steering wheel, you might also feel it in the tires. Sometimes it's not there when you're driving at lower speeds through residential areas, and sometimes it starts when you hit highway speeds.
So what is tire balance anyway? Well, you have a rubber tire that fits around a metal wheel. It should have the same weight all the way around. If it doesn't, it will start getting the shakes. Ever load your washing machine so that all the clothes are at one side of that drum that spins? When it hits the spin cycle, it can throw that washer against the wall.
That's the same thing that's happening with an out-of-balance tire/wheel combination. A technician has special equipment to figure out where to put small weights on the wheel to get things back in balance again. But it could be that you hit a pothole some time ago and bent the rim. Or your tire isn't as round and even as it once was. That could be due to age, damage or wear and tear. The technician will know and offer you options.
Another possibility for that vibrating wheel is a faulty brake, such as warped rotors or a sticky caliper. All of these issues can be evaluated as part of regular, routine maintenance with us. There are many things that cause vibrations in your wheels. But you don't want any bad vibes when it comes to your vehicle.
You can make your vehicle tires last longer with regular tire rotation and wheel balancing.
Let's start with tire rotation. In normal driving around Urbana Illinois, your front tires wear more on the shoulders because they handle much of the cornering forces in turns. Front-wheel drive vehicles have even more force on the front tires.
We rotate the tires so that all of the tires do some duty on the front end as well as getting a little break on the back end. That way, all four tires wear more evenly over their life and last longer.
For most vehicles in Urbana Illinois, tires are rotated front to back. Some manufacturers recommend a cross rotational pattern that includes the spare tire, and some high-performance vehicles have different size tires on the front and rear and may even have uni-directional tires that can only be on the left or the right side of the vehicle. Your Urbana Illinois service advisor at PDR can help you sort that out and will perform the right tire rotation for your vehicle.
Your tire manufacturer will have a recommendation for how often you should rotate your tires. It's usually somewhere around 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or 8,000 to 13,000 kilometers.
Let's move on to wheel balancing. That's when there are heavy spots on the tire and wheel that cause it to wobble.
Balancing adds weights to the wheel to balance it out. Now, we are talking about very small weight differences. Variations in the tire and wheel manufacture can cause a slight imbalance. The valve stem, and now the tire pressure monitoring sensors in the tire, also play into the equation.
Even small differences can cause annoying vibrations at speed: the wheel is essentially bouncing a bit as it goes down the road. For example, at freeway speeds, an out of balance wheel can be slamming into the road 14 times a second. That's annoying and can cause your tires to wear out more quickly.
If a front wheel's out of balance you'll feel the vibration through the steering wheel. When it's a rear tire, you'll feel the vibration through your seat. If you're getting bad vibes from your vehicle, bring it in to see if it's a balance issue or something else. You should balance your wheels whenever you get a new tire or remount a tire like when it's been removed for a flat repair.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
At PDR we install quality NAPA replacement parts.