The unique problem with wheels is that they are often neglected. From the tires to the rims themselves, drivers seldom have these parts serviced at sufficient intervals, which leads to damage to the suspension, uncomfortable rides and other issues that can be difficult to diagnose.
Let’s take a look at some of the regular maintenance you should have done to your vehicle along with some of the symptoms that your car needs wheel-related maintenance.
1. Wheel Balancing
Wheel balancing is one of the most overlooked services that you should have done to your car. It compensates for uneven wear, imperfection in your tires or rims and other minor damage that could occur to your wheels.
There are a number of reasons that wheel balancing may be necessary, but the most common include:
- Imperfections in the tire due to manufacturing – No tire is perfect. Some will have small imperfections that may be difficult to sense until you are going fast enough or putting enough torque on your tires to cause balance issues.
- Slipping of the tire on the rim – Sudden braking, improper lubrication used during the tire mounting process, and moderate wear are some reasons that a balanced tire can slip and spin on a rim. This results in an imbalanced tire that can cause vibrations while driving down the road.
- Uneven wear – Uneven wear can cause the tire to deform in ways that interact negatively with imperfections in the tire rim. This can cause vibrations and loss of grip due to excessive runout.
Wheel balancing, which effectively ensures that the wheels have minimal runout and proper rotation, can solve most of these issues.
On a minor note, it’s worth noting that wheel balancing is incredibly important with reel-wheel drive cars such as the Nissan 370Z, BMW 2 Series and Chevrolet Camaro. This is because vibrations from unbalanced wheels are easier to feel due to the torque put on these wheels.
2. Tire Replacement
Tire replacement is another service that car owners tend to forgo. They do this because they erroneously think that their tires are still usable because they passed the local inspection this year, or because they have “enough” tread left on their 15-year-old tires.
As a general rule of thumb, tires should be inspected starting at 50,000 miles of wear or 5 years of use. This is because tires undergo chemical changes due to exposure to the heat, the sun and other elements that can cause warping, bubbling, uneven wear and other issues.
If your tires are nearing their tread indicators or showing signs of cracking at the walls, then those are two more signs that you should replace your tires sooner rather than later.
3. Wheel Bearing Replacement
Wheel bearings are intricate components that exist within the wheel hubs of your car’s suspension. The best way to explain their job is to liken them to well-oiled gears that allow your wheels to spin freely without creating too much friction.
When these metal bearings become worn, they lose their ability to spin freely. This can result in play in your wheels, noise, vibrations and other problems that can lad to everything from a diminished driving experience to excessive wear on other suspension components like your car’s struts.
While the procedure for replacing wheel bearings is relatively simple, it is both labor intensive and requires certain equipment to ensure that it is done properly. Our mechanics specialize in both of these departments, which ensures that your wheel bearings can be replaced reliably and affordably.
4. Suspension Issues
The last major area where wheel-related problems can develop isn’t in the wheels but the suspension of your vehicle. Items like worn struts or springs, brittle bushings and damaged control arms can result in excessive wear that will lead to problems with the wheels of your car.
If you leave these components in disrepair, then this damage will inevitably recur no matter how many times you replace your tires or rims.
Don’t Neglect Your Car’s Wheels
Because your car’s wheels represent the one point of contact between the road and your car, it’s important that you keep them in top condition. Anything less will reduce your fuel economy, result in damage to your car’s suspension, and require regular tire changes until you get the underlying problems fixed.
If you want to be sure that your car is performing at its peak, then contact us at Triangle Car Care. We service customers in and around the Triangle. Our mechanics are knowledgeable, friendly, and, above all else, honest.
Call us at (919) 787-0966 to schedule an appointment.