Car News

Here's some pressure:

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Nora Carter October 2007

The weather for our fall car care check-over has been cooperating so far. Plan to spend about a half-hour or so finishing up the outside stuff on your vehicle's checklist.

Time for tires. Write L/F (for left front), R/F, L/R, R/R and S (spare) on your list. Because the spare is the easiest, check it first. Make sure it is inflated to the pressure stamped on the side of the tire. (Temporary spare tires are inflated to a higher pressure, typically 50 to 60 psi, than the tires on the ground.)

Check your jack, making sure all of the parts are with it and that it works correctly. If it is at all rusted or binds, lubricate it with some spray lube like WD40 and operate it a couple of times. While you're at it, this would be a good time for a "how to change a flat tire" lesson.

The instructions are in your vehicle's owners manual or sometimes printed on a sticker on the underside of the spare tire cover.

Let's look at each "on the ground" tire, one at a time. Tire pressure should be checked "cold," after the vehicle has been sitting for several hours. The proper tire inflation pressure varies for every vehicle. This information can be found in the owners manual or usually on the white sticker on the driver's or passenger's door or doorjamb — B pillar, for you technical folks.

The tire pressure stamped on the side of the tire is the maximum pressure, not the correct pressure for your vehicle. If neither of these specifications can be found, 32 psi is a good "rule of thumb" for tire wear and handling. Trucks, including many SUVs, run higher inflation pressures than cars, so 32 psi doesn't work for them.

If your tire pressure is low, write down the reading. This is important because by the time you drive to the gas station for air, the heat generated inside the tire will increase the pressure reading. At the gas station, don't worry about the "hot" reading. Add enough air to bring it to the proper inflation pressure to compensate for the cold reading you took earlier.

For instance, if your tires are supposed to have 32 psi and your reading was 28 psi, you will need to add 4 psi of air. If the hot reading is 30 psi, you will need to inflate the tire to 34 psi.

If the tire is wearing evenly, all of the little lines and crevices across the tread should look about the same. Use a penny as a tread-depth gauge. Stick the top of Lincoln's head into one of the grooves. If you can see the top of his hair, the tire is worn past its safety limit and should be replaced.

If there is more wear on both outer edges of each tire or if the edges are good but the middle of the tread is worn, you need to adjust the tire pressure. If the tire is only wearing on one side or in spots, put a check mark in the "get repaired" column for a possible wheel alignment.

After you inspect each tire, compare them with each other. Do all of the tread designs (lines and crevices) have the same general pattern? Look at the sides of the tires. Are they all made by the same company? There will be a tire-size series of numbers such as 195/70R/14. The two front tires should match each other in tread design and size, as should the two rears.

The front and the rears don't have to match as long as you keep them together when you rotate them. The only time I've seen a problem with different fronts and rears is on four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Mixed-up tire sizes and tread designs can cause steering, handling and braking problems that get worse in bad weather. As a tire wears, the diameter of the tire gets smaller, which is why tires should always be replaced in pairs and mounted on either the front or rear at the same time.

Which brings me to brakes. You can take advantage of this mild autumn weather and go for a ride with the windows down. Listen for any noises coming from the wheels both when the vehicle is rolling and when you apply the brakes. Listen for squealing, screeching or grating or grinding. Do you feel any vibration in the brake pedal or the steering wheel when you step on the pedal? Does the vehicle pull right or left when you brake? Come to a stop on an incline, put the gear selector in N and apply the parking brake. Does it keep the vehicle from rolling when you use it? If not, make a note in the "get repaired" column.

Even if everything on your checklist looks good, I suggest making an appointment with your car doctor and getting the other incidentals such as the battery, fluids, belts and hoses checked. If you marked any "need repair" items on the checklist, now is the time to attend to them.

© 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here's some pressure: - Autotrader