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Borgman How To: Tire Rotation & Balancing Explained

March 29th, 2018

As crews around Grand Rapids work to patch up our numerous potholes, the best way to protect your tires from cracks, splits, and other shock-related damage is to rotate them regularly and keep them properly inflated. From the outset, the concept of a tire seems pretty simple. Their rubber construction and treads grip the road in many different driving conditions. They’re filled with air to act as a cushion, push back onto the road, and keep wheel weight down – and therefore fuel efficiency up.

In truth, there’s a bit more going on here. In our latest Borgman How To, we’ll expand upon our previous Tire Article and go over why it’s important to keep your tires balanced and rotated.

What a Tire Rotation Is and How It Saves You Money

Here’s a scenario: about a year ago you put four brand-new tires on your car. You notice that the rear tires still look fairly new, but the front ones, especially on the edges, look a little more worn. Instead of replacing the front tires, you can simply have them moved to a different position on the car, or rotate them.

Generally, your front tires wear faster than the rear ones because they’re doing a lot more work. All of the turning, braking, and acceleration (in a front-wheel drive car) happens here, and the rear wheels are more-or-less just along for the ride. Front tires also feather on the edges from turning, so rotating wears them in a different place and grants you thousands more miles out of them. Plus, it reduces the risk of blowing a tire due to concentrated wear on specific areas.

A fringe benefit of having this done on a regular basis is that our technicians can keep an eye on your brake and suspension components for wear. With the wheels off, they’ll be able to spot hidden issues before they cause expensive problems or make the vehicle unsafe.

Removing the wheels also allows a thorough inspection of the tire itself. It can be looked over for cracks, pits, or bulges – all of which will need some sort of intervention. It also makes things like cupping or bald patches much easier to spot, which almost always point toward an issue with your alignment.


What Does It Mean To Have Your Tires Balanced?

The term ‘tire/wheel balance’ is pretty self-explanatory. Because tires and rims are not perfectly round, they need to be adjusted on a special machine to counteract any uneven weight distribution. A tire can have a static imbalance (up and down) or a dynamic imbalance (side to side,) and both will generate vibration and road noise. Unbalanced tires can also contribute to uneven tire wear and put stress on other components, like your axles. We can check for this when we do a rotation or adjust your alignment and will attach weights to precise locations on the wheels as needed.

Bonus: How to Change A Flat Tire

Learning to change a spare tire is something best learned in the daylight and in your own driveway, rather than out of necessity on the side of the road. Your tire removal procedure may be found in your owners manual, but there are a few things that can help make the process easier, and a couple of safety tips too.

First, find a safe, level area to pull over and place reflective warning markers near your vehicle to alert other drivers. Before you raise the vehicle, use the wrench to ‘crack’ the lug nuts loose while the tire is still on the ground. Sometimes it takes a lot of force to do this and if the vehicle is raised you’ll only spin the wheel – and run the risk of the vehicle falling off the jack.

Once the lug nuts are loosened a little bit, begin to raise the vehicle, consulting the owner’s manual for lift points and proper jack procedure. Now you may fully remove the lug nuts and the wheel. Place the spare wheel back on the posts and replace the nuts following a star pattern. If you repeat this pattern gradually, you ensure that the wheel is evenly affixed to the hub. A severely dynamically unbalanced wheel can work the lug nuts back off while you’re driving!

After the wheel is back on and the lug nuts are snug, lower the vehicle and use your wrench to tighten them down a little further. Spares are not designed to be driven around at high speed or long distances, but if you don’t have another choice, be sure to stop and check that the lug nuts remain on there tight – the wheel can settle a bit as it’s driven and needing to tighten the lug nuts again is normal.

Visit the Borgman Ford Service Center for Complete Tire Care in Grand Rapids!

Whether you need your tires rotated, balanced, or replaced, the Borgman Ford Service Center is here to help. Our highly-trained and certified staff will make sure that your tires are in proper working condition, are balanced, and installed correctly. We’ll also inspect different parts of your vehicle while you’re here to keep an eye on its overall health.

You can check out our latest Service Specials, Schedule an Appointment Online, or Contact Us with any questions. Remember to check your snartphone’s app store for the Borgman Service Rewards App and get a Free Oil Change on your 5th visit! Come see why Borgman is the Best in the West!


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