Tire Maintenance in FairbanksJul 15th, 2018
With the recent focus in the Fairbanks area on improving fuel economy, we've been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.
Fairbanks drivers know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they're not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Underinflated tires will wear out more quickly.
Some people in Fairbanks wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. In fact, there are very good reasons not to overinflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.
Stop by Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair to see about tire maintenance for your vehicle.
Every vehicle in the Fairbanks area has a sticker on the driver's side door jamb that tells you the vehicle manufacture's recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle's suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it's important for drivers to follow it.
What else do Fairbanks drivers need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let's start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. At Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair in Fairbanks, we rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front, and they'll all wear evenly over their live.
For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it'll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can't be rotated at all. Your owner's manual will have details for your vehicle or ask your service advisor at Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair.
How often should people near Fairbanks rotate their tires? Your owner's manual will have a recommendation. Your technician at Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair in Fairbanks can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles/8,000 km.
You know, some people don't think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren't taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there's enough variation to require balancing.
When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely important. When a tire's out of balance, it's actually hopping down the road. Fairbanks vehicles with tires out of balance will feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire's out of balance and through the seat if it's a rear tire.
Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety for Fairbanks drivers and their passengers. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted.
The team at Gabe's Truck & Auto Repair also wants to remind you that it is important to always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that's where you need the most traction to avoid spinning out.