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August 8, 2014

Wheels vs. Tires: What’s the Problem?

Dear Bree,

Apparently, I have a problem.  I’m constantly adding air to my tires.  I’m starting to think that my TPMS has just gone to lunch and left the switch turned to “On.”  I mean, how can they be low all the time?  And it’s not even the same one!  My boyfriend took at look at the tires and said he doesn’t see anything in any of them, so he said I should take my car in and get them checked out.  Got an opinion, Bree?

Losing Air in Houston


Dear Losing Air,

In the battle of wheel vs. tire, who’s the winner?  Not you.  And if the problem is your wheel, your tires aren’t winning either.  I’ll give you my best guess, then you take your car in and get your tires and wheels checked out.

If your car has seen better miles and is getting into its golden years, take a look at those wheels of yours.  Are you drawn to curbs, pot holes and other road hazards like flies to fruit?  Have you hit everything but the jackpot on those wheels?  It could be that the wheels on your bus aren’t going round and round anymore; maybe they stutter, stumble and bonk along now.  What I’m trying to say is that your wheels may not be so round anymore.  If that’s the case, then you could be losing air through constant leaks from unevenness because the tire never seats right at the bead.  You might have one of your many dents by the valve stem and it’s causing the valve stem to constantly dislodge just a bit and lose air.  Or maybe you have some tiny cracks in the wheel so you are losing air.  Could be a number of things, but it all boils down to one: You need to get your wheels replaced or fixed because they will ruin your tires.  You can find people who will straighten, weld and fix your wheels for anywhere between $75 and $150 each, depending on the damage, paint, etc.

Alloy wheels are generally more susceptible to this type of damage because they are a softer metal.  Steel wheels are tougher and less expensive, but depending on your tastes, they are not for everyone.  Once you get your wheels fixed, your tires (or new tires) can be remounted, balanced, etc., and you can be on your way.

If this is a wheel problem, no amount of aligning and balancing will solve it.  New tires will not be a magical cure, and until you fix the problem, they will be a waste of money.  If you’d rather buy new, update your look, etc., come see us at RNR.  You know we can help you with that.  If your old tires are so far gone from the wheel beating they’ve been taking, we’ve got you covered there, too.  We know this whole process can get expensive, so let us know if you want us to set up a payment schedule that will make all of this easier on you and your wallet.  If it makes you feel any better, we promise that the look of your new RNR wheels and tires will make you smile in the end.

Be safe!


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