New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
After having one definite rear and the other "almost" I opted for two Michelin Energy Savers. The front tyres - both budget- were good for a few thousand miles yet, but I thought it prudent to match all four and had them all fitted. All well and good £178.55 - but 4 good quality tyres.

The guy who fitted them advised that the uneven wear on the rear tyres was down to the tracking - he briefly explained how they were out of line etc. and advised me to get them checked and so that they can be re-aligned/balanced/corrected - whatever the term is.

This is all new to me as still a fairly new driver. He also mentioned if not the tracking the suspension be be damaged - which does alarm me! The car is only 5 years old (a little Micra 1.0l). Am I being unduly worried? - I have it booked in for Thursday. Being green as grass, what should I be looking for, or what should I avoid? - is there an average cost for this type of work and any way to ensure I'm not going to get an unpleasant bill and making a mountain out of a molehill?

I'd heard of having tyres balanced and mistakenly thought this was the same thing! - I got 5 years and 47000 miles from the original Bridgestones from brand new.

Finally there is some noise which others had said sounded like a wheel bearing - but was not - (independently checked 3 times) I assumed it was wear and tear and would disappear with the new tyres - it hasn't. The noise wasn't always there - again linked to the tracking? or more likely the once-new engine is noiser now as is the exhaust?

Anyone out there able to allay my fears and assure me this is normal wear and tear.

Thanks

Steve
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Roger Jones
You should get a full laser-alignment check:

www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/faq.htm?id=57

It shouldn't cost you more than, say, £40 at most. The last time I had it done (at Micheldever) I think it was under £25, which included corrective adjustments. Misalignment is far more likely than damaged suspension, I would think. Get the alignment sorted and you will know where you stand.

Take care of your tyres. Use the manufacturer's recommended pressures (on the inside of the fuel filler cap, and in the handbook). Check them every fortnight with a good robust gauge -- search the forums for recommendations. It's worth buying a pump if you don't already have one; the good old footpumps are fine if you have the energy, but there are plenty of digital ones to run off the cigarette lighter.

Can't help with the noise, but see if it's there after alignment and report back in more detail.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - oilrag
Just be aware that `tracking` is one of the biggest cons out at some of the well known chains. Sometimes they only adjust one track rod end and it puts the steering wheel to one side.

If it were my car I would tend to leave it alone as the overall tyre life seems fine.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Roger Jones
I went in to edit . . . and having done it was then told it was out of time. Grrr.

Gauge: I heeded HJ's advice and bought from the International Tool Company. Gauge and pump will outlive several cars, so it's worth investing in good stuff for the long term.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Number_Cruncher
>>I got 5 years and 47000 miles

Then, there's not much wrong at all. I would be tempted to cancel the appontment for alignment, as it's likely to make things worse, not better. 47,000 miles out of tyres is very good, and impossible from badly aligned tyres.

Balancing is a vibration issue, and should have been done when your new tyres were fitted to their rims.

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
Then there's not much wrong at all. I would be tempted to cancel the appontment
for alignment as it's likely to make things worse not better. 47 000 miles out
of tyres is very good and impossible from badly aligned tyres.
Balancing is a vibration issue and should have been done when your new tyres were
fitted to their rims.


I'm not experienced enough to make that call to be honest NC. It is a minefield out there at times, but the guy who fitted the tyres definitely said there was very uneven wear - especially on the rear and one side.

He had nothing to gain from this revelation (unlike one major national dealer who tried to tell me 3 of the 4 tyres needed changing - another national dealer advised 1 and the other rear soon).

Steve
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - jbif
47,000 miles out of tyres is very good, and impossible from badly aligned tyres.


Could it be that the tyres have worn unevenly only in the short term, due to tracking getting knocked out after a recent close encounter with a kerb or pothole or summat.

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
Thanks both - I've found a local garage (less than 6m away) on the alingmycar site. Not sure what to do as already booked car in at another local garage - a friend on my dads etc. - but I assume they do not have the laser gear the others have.

How accurate will they be? - can they be of use? should I just ring and cancel and go for the laser-equipped garage? - I did invest in a pump with gauge - runs from 12v socket - it was recommended best buy in What Car or similar.

By the way guys, how can one edit a post?

thanks

Steve
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Statistical outlier
Steve,

if you got 46k from your previous set, then I echo NC - I don't think you'll do any better. Keep the forty quid for the next set of tyres!
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
Thanks Gordon - logic tells me that is correct, however, might it be a case of "suck-it-and-see" to see how the current tyres fare? - I'd settle for new tyres every 5 years - wouldn't we all? I assume it was not always out of balance though and perhaps is detrimental now where it wasn't in the early years.

Funnily enough I was thinking about replacing the car for a new one. Perhaps once these little niggles come to light is a good time - I know a lot of people change them after 3 years.

Aaarrggh - As my old fella said, "Welcome to the joys of motoring!"
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Roger Jones
If a tyre fitter advised me that I had a tracking problem, and if he had nothing to gain from offering that advice, I'd get it checked.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
If a tyre fitter advised me that I had a tracking problem and if he
had nothing to gain from offering that advice I'd get it checked.


My thoughts entirely Roger. Even when I asked of a recommendation (fully expected his mate around the corner lol) he just mentioned someone like ATS but stressed they needed checking a would be a shame to wear brand new tyres - he even went to the trouble of pointing put the problem and showing me the mis-alignment etc.

I feel I should get it done and while I appreciate the advice from others - I do have to admit that the "noise" I mention was not always there and even with brand new Michelin Energy Savers is still there - it might be engine/exhaust. Since it is fairly recent, last year or two I may well have hit potholes/kerbs etc. and thought nothing of it.

Before I make a final decision and phonecall, can anyone advise me how tracking might be done without laser alignment - does it just mean less accuracy.

Apologies for going on about this....

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - jc2
Laser gear is useless unless the operator knows what he is doing:I'd rather use someone with low-tech who understands what he is doing.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - moonshine {P}

Just becuase the tyre have lasted 47k doesn't mean the tracking is correct. A recent bump into a kerb or pothole can be enough to knock it out. Strange that its the rears that have worn un-even though. Still can be hard to tell if due to tracking or just normal tyre wear or due to under/over inflation of tyres.

The place I have my tracking checked at only charge if they have to adjust it. the last time I had it checked (after I replaced a track rod end) they said it was spot on and didn't charge for it.

be wary though - many years ago I had the tracking checked (by the new lad who started that week) and he said it was way out. It turns out it wasn;t and he adjusted it wrongly. They were so far out that the tyres screeched every time I went round a bend!
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Number_Cruncher
If the OP is really thinking about selling the car, then that's another reason not to touch the alignment.

Yes, it's quite possible that the car recently suffered some kind of impact which knocked the alignment (OP, have you been climbing kerbs at speed?). But, I don't beleive that geometry and alignment can be knocked out as easily as some suggest.

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - henry k
If the OP is really thinking about selling the car then that's another reason not to touch the alignment.

>>
I agree.
But I don't beleive that geometry and alignment can be knocked out as easily as some suggest.

I would have agreed with you until recently but since had a MoT failure with a Focus.
The rear suspension arm was bent. Garage said it was not uncommonwith with Focus / Mondeo and may have been caused by reversing into a kerb.
I was astounded to see the result. Son is not a boy racer and could not recall any event to cause the problem and I certainly did not cause it.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
Hi NC et al. I have not either knowingly or unknowingly been climbing kerbs at speed. So nothing obvious springs to mind - there have been numerous bumps and potholes over the years and I suppose gradual damage may have been done.

I'm considering a new vehicle, but confused as to the idea of leaving the tracking well alone. Not sure if it is just me but knowing there's a (potential) problem I'd have thought it more reason to correct it before someone else inherits it - especially as it will more than likely be going to someone close rather than lose heavily on a trade-in.

Damn! my other half and her ideals are infiltrating my brain! ;-)

On a more serious note - this mis-alignment (or not as the case may be) is not dangerous is it? It is an advisory, and may shorten the life of tyres, the steering is fine, no vibration or pull etc. - I'm just hoping this mate of my dad's can advise me once he's had a look.


New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Number_Cruncher
>>is not dangerous is it?

Misalignment, as such, isn't a source of danger itself.

If, however, there is underlying damage to the suspension causing misalignment, then that might be dangerous, and there's no way anyone can say that this is, or isn't, the case over a web forum, i.e., without inspecting the vehicle.

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - henry k
Uneven wear may be shock absorbers starting to fail of maybe one or more rubber bushes ( sort of fat hard rubber washers that smooth out some of the ride).

Re tracking.
There are several varients.
Front tracking. This may be done with quite simple mechanical equipment or with the aid of laser kit.
As hinted before, any adjustment at the front should be done at both sides with the steering wheel wedged in its central position.
There are adjustment nuts on each side often by each front wheel.
A lazy adjustment is done on one side only and can result in the steering wheel then being not centralised.

Four wheel tracking. I would expect this to be done in a service bay thst is set up for this purpose. The results from this may indicate some adjustment at the rear.
All the four wheel tracking I have had, produced a colour printout of the measurements at the start and the results after all adjustments. Even if you do not underatand the results the Red or Green printout is self explaining. :-)
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - MichaelR
I cannot agree with your idea that the Michelin Energy is a quality tyre, it is very poor infact.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Whisky
I use an adjustable length of copper pipe to track mine :-)

Did a better job then a certain national chain.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Cymrogwyllt
I've had the lazer done several times without success and finally found a place that used '60's or even 50's technology (metal beam attached to each rimat two points, light, mirror, and scope). found out that in the long term it was the most accurate by far. never mind the technology check the user. Feeling the tyre for feathering (run the finger allong the outside and inside 20% of the tread back and forewards. There should be no step felt between blocks in the tread.) is a good stand by.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - oilrag
I believe that most cars on the road with tracking problems are in that state because they have previously `been tracked` at fast fit and tyre places.

No evidence other than experience with my own cars over many years.

Edited by oilrag on 15/07/2008 at 22:45

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Number_Cruncher
>>are in that state because they have previously `been tracked` at fast fit and tyre places.

Fully agree.

I'm fairly sure that if you took a car into 10 places, and asked them to check, but not to adjust!, wheel alignment, and tyre balance, you would end up with 10 mutually contradictory reports! It's so easy to get bogus results.

While I'm normally keen on technology, here's one area where in 9 out of 10 cases it's not needed, and in 9 out of 10 cases, it isn't used properly.

The best wheel alignment investment a DIYer can make?

Trakrite!

It bypasses the tedium of measurement, and showing you whether or not a tyre is scrubbing directly.

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - henry k
>>Quacker1964 says
>>This is all new to me as still a fairly new driver
>>......I'm not experienced enough to make that call to be honest NC
>>
Our advice should bear this in mind:-)

Can you tell us what part of the country you are in and then someone may be able to point you to a good tyre expert in your region.
I use an adjustable length of copper pipe to track mine :-)
Did a better job then a certain national chain.

>>

I have always been happy with the laser checks my vehicles have had but I know the operators have been on full courses on how to operate the kit.
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
I cannot agree with your idea that the Michelin Energy is a quality tyre it
is very poor infact.


Thanks for making me feel a whole lot better Mikey ;-)

I'll post on here the results of Thursdays "appointment"
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - George Porge
I cannot agree with your idea that the Michelin Energy is a quality tyre it
is very poor infact.


Whats your prefered tyre them MR? and whats your deffinition of quality?
New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - Quacker1964
Just to update this one. The tracking was done on Thursday - when we queried "the noise" the guy pointed out the culprit. Passenger side rear wheel bearing. My girlfriend who has been driving a lot longer than me had said this previously. A mate said he thought that when he sat in the back, yet when he serviced the vehicle said it wasn't! - New wheel bearing added today!!

Several people and garages had said there was no fault. Anyway I now have four brand new new tyres - even if they are "poor quality" ;-), the tracking is done, a new wheel bearing fitted and my bonny wee Micra is silent and smooth again.

In the end it is a result, just annoying it took several differing opinions to get there. Speaking to various mechanics, there isn't even an agreed method to check for bearings - yet all along women's intuition should have been taken.

I won't hear the end of it! lol.

Cheers & happy motoring - beep beep

Edited by Quacker1964 on 18/07/2008 at 13:17

New Tyres and Wheel Tracking - advice please - henry k
>>Cheers & happy motoring - beep beep
>>
Thanks for letting us know the outcome.

Drive gently for the neext 100-200 miles while the tyres settle in and the release fluid on the treads is got rid of.

Beep beep to you.
 

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