We know how the holidays can keep you running—between picking up gifts, shopping for holiday treats or heading to the latest gathering, sometimes regular car maintenance falls to the bottom of your to-do list. In this blog post, Matthews Tire Waupaca Manager Nathan Ernst talks about why a maintenance value package—which includes an oil change, tire rotation, alignment check and more—makes a great gift this season!
What to Know About Your Vehicle’s Alignment
“Most people don’t even know that they have an alignment issue as they drive down the road,” Nathan says. “There really aren’t any key symptoms that you can watch for.”
What you can recognize is moments when misalignment may occur: You suddenly feel your car hit a curb or your vehicle bounces through a pothole that you didn’t notice. That’s when your tires may get pushed out of alignment. “An alignment check can extend the life of your tires, making them last longer and resulting in less road noise on your drive,” Nathan explains.
During the check, Matthews Tire maintenance technicians will measure the alignment of your tires in several angles, including a ‘toe angle,’ which should be straight (think of your tires being pigeon-toed or duck-footed). “When your car’s toe angle is misaligned, you can get wear to the inner or outer edges of your tires,” Nathan says.
Technicians can make mechanical adjustments to your vehicle’s suspension to correct the issue, which will extend the life of your tires. “Also, if your vehicle is aligned properly, you’re getting less wandering back and forth, which will improve your fuel mileage” by up to five or ten percent, Nathan says.
Matthews Tire recommends vehicle owners have an alignment check once a year or every 15,000 miles. Full-size trucks generally have solid drive axles in the rear suspension, so only the front suspension would be adjusted, Nathan said. SUVs and cars have adjustable suspensions in both the rear and the front of the vehicle.
Why Tire Rotation is Important for Tire Longevity
Getting a tire rotation, which helps slow the wear on your tires, also can help determine if it’s time for an alignment, since technicians can get a visual on any edgewear on the tires, Nathan says. Drivers should consider having Matthews Tire complete a tire rotation every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
“If you neglect to rotate your tires, it can cause very rapid wear on either the front or rear tires, depending on whether you have a front- or rear-wheel drive vehicle,” Nathan says.
Tires that stay in one position on the vehicle can sustain a lot of wear by continually taking the same type of stress, such as from turns or stops. “Every tire should see each corner of the vehicle for rotations,” Nathan says.
Safety is a concern as worn tires can potentially blow out. You can improve the life of your tires significantly by keeping up with regular rotations, he says.
Why Keeping Up with Oil Changes is Vital
“An oil change is the easiest and most basic maintenance to allow your engine to perform at a higher level, improving the fuel economy of your vehicle and helping your engine last longer,” Nathan says.
Yet, it’s common for people to neglect or procrastinate on this simple maintenance. Typically, oil changes only take between 30 and 45 minutes at most.
Many times, drivers will rely on their vehicle’s monitoring systems to tell them the remaining oil life percentage. “A lot of people believe they can run it down to zero percent and that means it’s time to change their oil,” Nathan explains. “But running it down that far can cause a loss of oil pressure inside the engine.”
That loss of pressure can cause damage to the engine, which may not be repairable. Most vehicles need an oil change every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. “You always want to go by the mileage on the vehicle versus the monitoring system,” Nathan says.
The good news is bringing your car in for regular maintenance will help keep your car optimally running.
“The nice thing about doing the oil change is we can monitor all the other fluids, the condition of the vehicle, and we can let people know if they’re due for scheduled maintenance, which will extend the life of the vehicle,” Nathan says. “We can help you keep track of the maintenance services you’ll need as you reach certain mileages.”