Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Should Have Listened to My Dad, Part XXXXVIII

I think I figured out why the tread on my left rear tire has been wearing out oddly: As I was leaving the office this afternoon, I noticed that the rear wheel looked funny. It seemed smaller than it was supposed to be. Lower, you might say. (This, as you might recall, is also the wheel that needed a new brake caliper. I'm having bad luck with left rear wheels this year.)

Now, in my regular calls with Dad, we usually ask each other how the cars are running. And then he'll ask me a few things:

Have you checked your lights?
Yes, Dad.
How's your tire pressure?
It's fine, Dad.

It's down to a script at this point, and I give the proper response, regardless of whether or not I've actually done the thing.

Invariable, this comes back to bite me.

I got the tire pressure gauge out of the glove compartment (another Dad-mandated item) and checked the tire, which is supposed to be at 32 psi.

The needle barely moved. That's bad. So either it developed a slow leak sometime after my car passed inspection last month, or I've been driving on a dangerously low tire for an even longer period of indeterminate length that includes regular trips on the Toll Road, 66, and oh, a trip up to Baltimore.

I limped over to a nearby gas station and filled it up. We'll see how the pressure holds up overnight, which will determine if I was unlucky (new leak) or simply really, really dumb.

Since the tread on the edge is pretty much shot, I'll have to get order new rear tires and then go from there. Probably overdue for an alignment as well, though since I just passed inspection, I don't think this will be another $2,000 flat tire.

I know it's early for Father's Day platitudes, but you should listen to your Dad.

2 comments:

Joe said...

If you happen to travel on the 495 or the 66.. (I think you probably do), those roads are filled with pot holes.

One night I was heading home, and it must have driven over a crater in the road. It owned my tire pretty good, knocking a good -10 PSI out of it. I think since then, my alignment is off.

You might have your tires Toe-Out if your sidewalls are wearing down that quickly.

After you change your tires, I recommend investing the time (and the money) into getting an alignment with a Thrust Angle on it, since I believe your car is FWD. (To have some records indicating they did align the vehicle, ask to have a print out of the specs).

If you're going back to the same tire shop that gouged you last time, I suggest requesting/demanding they balance all your tires. (Most tire shops in the southwest do that at no charge, but I know VA is much different.)

You'll hopefully be able to garner some better mileage out of the tires themselves and be able to sensibly conserve on gas when your tires aren't adding additional sources of friction for you.

~Joe

Joelogon said...

I'm going to put tire shine on the treads of my tires. That should cut the friction down considerably.