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The main components of a tire service include:

  • Tire pressure monitoring and tread wear inspection
  • Tire rotation
  • Tire balancing
  • Tire alignment

Let’s dive into each of these components individually:

  • Tire pressure monitoring and tread wear inspection:

The more common issue with tire pressure, is that they are typically under-inflated, as a result of which the tire wear is premature. Under-inflates tires have higher rolling resistance causing you to consume more fuel to move the same distance of a manufacturer inflated set of tires [1].

It is recommended to inspect your tire pressure one a month, and if you notice periodic pressure loss – it is advisable to have the tires professional inspected. You can find the manufacturer recommended tire pressure of your vehicles by looking for it [2]:

  1. Vehicle owner’s manual
  2. Also on the tire placard located on the driver side door edge

Your tires are typically the only point of contact with the road, and you need to make sure that they have sufficient tread, specially during the winter months to ensure your safety while on the road. If your tread depth is less than 2/32″, you need to immediately get this rectified. This is a very unsafe amount of tread to have on the road and requires an immediate replacement. Canadian Tire [5], has an extremely information article on how to correctly measure tread depth using either a nickel, or a commercially available tool.

A common technique to measuring your remaining tread depth is by taking a nickel and placing it upside-down into one of the crevices of your tire. If you were to draw an imaginary line from the height of the rubber remaining on the tire to the nickel, and it doesn’t even cover the Queen’s crown, this means that you have less than 2/32″ of tread depth remaining and your tire needs to be replaced immediately.

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This can typically be done yourself at a gas station, or your local mechanic without any charge.

  • Tire rotation:

Tire rotation help to even out tire wear between the front and rear tires. This is typically more significant in either front wheel or rear wheel vehicles. All wheel drives, tend to wear all 4 tires evenly. Tire should typically be rotated every 7000 kilometers, or at the time of a Winter/Summer or Summer/Winter swap. The interval for tire rotation as well is included in your Vehicle’s owners manual. The act of rotated the tires, ensures that each tire of your vehicles typically sees as many of the situations that your car is exposed to. If you have an alignment issue on the left, this will not only affect the tires mounted on the left hand side, but all the others – if rotation is done periodically.

The biggest advantage of having done periodic tire rotation, is that your tires will last longer and will need to be replaced all at time, instead of pre-mature and uneven wear causing you to replace either the front pair or rear pair prematurely.

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Tirerack [3] has an extremely informative diagram, which explains the various rotational techniques that a vehicle owner can follow depending on their type of car and tires.

This can typically cost you about $20 at a local mechanic’s shop, or can be included in your tire swap interval.

  • Tire balancing:

Symptom’s of unbalanced tires are slight wobbling on your steering wheel or a sense of shaking as you approach higher speeds with your vehicle. The intensity of these, increase as you increase your speed. Typically this is observed with highway driving.

This can also lead to faster tread wear and sub-optimal fuel economy. Imbalanced tires can be rectified by precisely attaching small weights to your wheel rim to account for the inherent imbalance of your tires. Typically this needs to be changed every time a tire swap is down, or as per your Vehicle’s owners manual.

This can typically cost you $14/tire.

  • Tire alignment:

Symptom’s of your vehicle needing a tire alignment is when you notice pulling of your vehicle to either side, if you keep you steering wheel straight. Common reasons by which your tire alignment goes off – might be due to hitting a curb while parking, going over potholes,

This alignment however, has nothing to do with your tires, but instead the vehicle’s suspension system. The entire intent of this process is to adjust the angle by which the tire touches the surface of the road.

Bridgestone [4], has an extremely indepth article, explaining the intricacies of this process and what should be the ideal alignment.

This can typically cost you about $150 for a complete alignment.

References:

  1. Michelin
  2. Goodyear
  3. Tirerack
  4. Bridgestone
  5. Canadian Tire