How and when you should service your wheels for a smooth ride?
The wheels form part of the transmission enabling your car to convert the kinetic energy from the engine into kinetic energy that moves the car. Wheels provide the primary contact to the road surface allowing you to control how fast you want the car to go, the direction you want the car to take and even the positioning of the car on the road. However in more cases than most people rarely consider wheels an important part of their normal car service regimen. Wheels remain neglected till problems manifest themselves. Most of us visit tire and wheel centers when they need to change the tire (Probably after the tire is completely bald or has a puncture) but should we go to the wheel centers at any other point other than tire related service? Today we will look at how to service your wheels so as to ensure that you are safe on the road and as efficient as possible.
There are various ways in which you can service your drive train, for the purpose of this discussion we will look at the wheel section leaving out the tires, the gearbox and some aspects of the suspension.
Your wheels are supposed to move in a smooth manner no matter the speed you are traveling at. In some cases you may feel some vibrations emanating from the wheels that may cause your steering to shake and in some cases the whole car could shake erratically once you reach certain speeds. These vibrations are usually caused by the irregular distribution of mass within the wheel assembly causing the wheel to displace to one direction more than the other.
If this is happening to your car then you may consider having the wheels checked. Wheel balancing is usually done by removing your wheel and placing it on a rotating spindle, sensors in the spindle are able to detect vibrations and even indicate to the technician how much micro weights they should stick onto the wheel. These minor corrections will enable the tire to rotate more smoothly. In most cases you can service your wheels through balancing for only Ksh 300 per wheel.
Wheel alignment service is required when the car starts pulling to one side while driving, in most cases this can be noticed while in traffic and you drive will minimal contact to the steering wheel or when you attempt to move the car without touching the steering wheel. This mainly happens because the angle of the wheel changes on the road as the car moves due to repeated impact from potholes and bumps along the road. This ‘pulling’ to one side, either the left or the right can cause the tires to wear out unevenly adding to your cost of maintaining the vehicle. In most cases your car’s tires are supposed to travel at least 30,000 – 40,000 kms without being replaced so if you are replacing them earlier then you may need to service your wheels.
Wheel alignment should be carried out anytime you have any suspension work done on your vehicle or every 5,000 kms / during every service. If you need to service your wheels through alignments the average cost is usually Ksh 500 per wheel.