Get your wheels aligned
Many people view long tyre life as a buying factor. Yet, a tyre selling friend told me that, in his experience, most tyres are discarded because of damage, long before they have worn-out their treads. The reason was, according to him, the worsening states of our roads.
Now that spring is on its way, our roads are littered with potholes. While driving over (or into) one can damage a tyre severely, it also knocks your car’s suspension out of alignment. While you might not notice it, because the process can be gradual, tyre wear and fuel use levels tend to increase and grip levels are affected negatively.
Check your tracking
Correct suspension geometry is vital to preserve optimum handling, road-holding, and steering. Most owners are familiar with having the ‘toe’ (‘tracking’) adjusted on the front wheels but the more sophisticated four-wheel alignment will ensure that all wheels are running consistently with each other, as recommended by all motor manufacturers. However, not all cars can have their rear ‘toe’ and ‘camber’ settings adjusted, although some models, such as Mazda’s MX5 and certain BMWs, have multiple adjustment points. Naturally, this increases the cost. Some Porsches, Audi SUVs and BMWs, for example, can take many hours to set-up properly, which can raise the costs to in-excess of £400. Conversely, the rear suspension of many front wheel drive cars, with beam axle rear suspension, cannot be adjusted and so the bill may be under £50.00.
Therefore, having your wheel alignment checked, prior to having new tyres fitted, can save you money in the long term. Be aware that many tyre shops offer discounts on the service, so shop around.