Tires are one of the most expensive regular maintenance items on your car. Most tires last about 25,000 to 50,000 miles before they need to be replaced, but depending on the condition of your car and how you drive, you could need new tires sooner. According to a survey from Angie’s List, members paid an average of $637 to replace all four tires. Usually, a full set of new tires will cost at least $500, but can easily cost over $1,000 depending on the size and type of tire you need, as well as the quality of tires you choose. High performance sports, off road, or low profile / uncommon size tires can even cost around $500 each, easily bringing the total cost of a new set to around $2,000.
With this in mind, every driver in Long Beach who wants to save their hard-earned money should make an effort to make their tires last as long as possible. The easiest way is by practicing good driving habits – slowing down for corners and accelerating and braking gently in order to minimize wheelspin and loss or traction, both of which will grind your tires against the rough pavement, wearing off the outer layer of rubber more quickly. However, there are a few other things that you can do to keep your tires from working harder than they have to and slow down wear, prolonging their life.
Three of the most important things you should do to take care of your tires are tire rotation, wheel balancing, and alignment.
In normal driving, your front tires wear more near their sides, because they are responsible for steering your car and handle most of the load of cornering forces during turns. Front wheel drive vehicles are under even more load on their front tires, because they are responsible for not only steering the vehicle, but accelerating as well.
Tire rotation is a procedure that is performed which switches positions for your tires, usually from the front to the back. This way, the tires previously on the back will have to perform some duty on the front, and the tires that were in front can get a break in the back. This will allow all four tires to wear more evenly over their life, which will help them last longer. However, some high performance vehicles have unidirectional tires that can only be on the left or right side of the vehicle, or different sized tires in the front and back which will make front to back rotation impossible. In these situations, our service advisors can help you figure out the best option to make your tires last longer.
Most tire manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires around every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, but if you’re not sure of the exact number our service advisors can check for you to keep you on schedule.
The second major procedure to prolong your tire life is wheel balancing. When your wheels are unbalanced, it means that there are heavy spots on the tire and wheel which can cause it to wobble, leading to quicker wear. If your wheel is out of balance, you may notice a slight vibration or hum when driving, caused by the wheel wobbling or bouncing against the road. The smallest weight difference, even a few grams, can throw a wheel out of balance. It’s like when you put clothes into your washing machine unevenly and it starts to shake. When tires are balanced, small weights are added to the inside of the wheel in order to balance it out and make it spin more smoothly. Some of the common causes that can throw a wheel out of balance are a weight falling off, mud or debris sticking to the inside of your wheel, or a tire malfunction. If you hit a pothole and bend one of your wheels, this can also cause the same symptoms as being out of balance, but you should get your wheel fixed or replaced instead of just balancing it. Because an unbalanced wheel forces your car to work harder and drive less smoothly, it may also have a negative effect on your gas mileage.
Finally, your wheels being out of alignment can also cause much quicker or uneven wear. An easy way to test if your wheels are in alignment is to find a flat, empty street or parking lot, accelerate straight, and let go of the steering wheel. If your vehicle goes at least 100 feet before starting to veer off track, then your alignment is most likely okay. However, if it starts to veer to the side more quickly, you probably have an alignment problem, which can negatively affect your gas mileage and tire life. In serious cases, you may notice that you have to keep your steering wheel slightly rotated to keep your car driving straight. In this case, you definitely have an alignment problem, and should get it fixed as soon as possible in order to prolong your tire life and improve your gas mileage.
At Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach, we want to help you help your car last as long as possible, from your engine to your tires. If you notice that a wheel is out of balance or alignment, or need a tire rotation, call us today at (562) 427-4256. Our service advisors and technicians can help you figure out the best options for your car to help your tires last as long as possible. Give us a call today!