A car is nothing without its wheels and tires. While some people give all their attention to the engine and oil changes, they sometimes forget that tires require attention as well, and weekly check-ups can make a world of difference. There are many things to consider when taking care of wheels and tires, and here is a compilation of some of the most important tips to keep in mind.
Wheel Caring Tips
This is one of the most basic tips when it comes to taking care of your wheels. Hitting a curb can be highly detrimental to the integrity, alignment, and correct functioning of your wheels. This will be especially painful if you got some amazing custom wheels. Therefore, you must be careful with curbs and avoid hitting them as much as possible.
Keep them Clean
Brake dust is one of the main products that accumulate on wheels. This is especially damaging to your alloy wheels, which get corroded by this residue. Each time you hit the brakes, small pieces of the brake pads fall and they often stick to your wheels. Of course, you have to brake to be able to drive, so the solution is cleaning your wheels appropriately.
The brake dust accumulates because of what is made of, which includes adhesive, carbon, and metal. Plus, the high temperatures that are reached while you are driving is what allows this dust to truly get into the coating of your wheels. So how can you avoid permanent damage? You should clean your wheels at least every two weeks, even more often if you drive long distances every day.
Choose the Right Products
There is a right way and a wrong way to clean your wheels. One of the first things you should know is that you will want to avoid acidic solutions. These products cause more harm than good and will further affect your wheels. Chemical cleaners are not the way to go.
Also, it is much better if you clean your wheels yourself. After all, you cannot control what products are used at a car wash. Furthermore, mechanical washes can sometimes use brushes that damage your wheels, which is exactly what you will want to avoid.
Clean One Wheel at a Time
This might sound unimportant, but it is something that will make the entire process easier. Some people try to clean the four wheels at the same time, going in circles around the car. This is only going to make things more difficult for you as putting soap on each wheel will cause it to dry, something that is not practical at all.
Instead, you should wash one wheel at a time and do this before you clean the rest of your car. This is because they accumulate the largest amount of dirt, and you might end up splashing it on the body of the car if you are not careful.
Tire Caring Tips
Rotation is Key
Rotating your tires is a great way to make sure they will last longer. This needs to be done by professionals, who will move the wheels usually from front to rear and from rear to front. By doing this, you will be evening-out the wear and tear, effectively prolonging the life of your tires. Ideally, you should do this every 5,000 miles.
Besides, this is a great opportunity to check all is well with your tires. Sometimes, there might be uneven wear on one of them, which could point out an alignment or balancing issue. Furthermore, nails and other road debris can cause damage, which can be repaired while your tires are being rotated.
Keep them Clean
Just like wheels, your tires need to be cleaned too. That aforementioned debris can accumulate and lead to long-term damage, which can be easily avoidable. Something that works to clean both your wheels and your tires is microfiber wash mitts. They are non-abrasive and very practical.
In the case of your tires, you will want to start by pouring water at a high-pressure, which can be done with a regular hose or a pressure washer. If there is a lot of dirt, you can use a brush to make sure you get it all out. After, you just have to dry them with a towel or kitchen roll and apply some tire-dressing.
Balance and Alignment
Technically, your wheels are the ones that get balanced and aligned; however, this highly affects the correct wear and tear of your tires. If the wheels are not correctly balanced and aligned, you might find that one side of your tires is getting more worn than the other. Balancing should take place at least every 15,000 miles, while alignment is necessary at least once a year. Both things are usually done together, which is a great way to make sure all is in order.
Tire Pressure Checks
The most basic things can sometimes save you from the biggest headaches. Your manual says what the adequate recommended pressure for your tires is, and you should have them checked at least once a week. You can measure them yourself to make sure all is as it should be.
Tires with low pressure will increase your fuel consumption and they will get extra wear and tear. This is why this simple step can save you a lot of money and it takes less than 5 minutes to complete.