4.9 Stars - 710 Customer Reviews

What happens when you don’t properly complete the tire balance and rotation procedure on your car

Brian England, Monday, Aug 29, 2022

At BA Auto Care, our techs keep your car on the road and running smoothly by following a preventative maintenance program custom designed to the unique needs of your car. Keeping your vehicle aligned properly, flushing your power steering, and flushing and cleaning your engine are essential to maintaining the health of your vehicle. Here is what we do to keep these systems in top form:

Engine-cleaning

Making sure that the procedure for balancing and rotating your tires is followed to the letter is important. This process, combined with careful inspection of your tires can prevent your car from vibrating or pulling to one side while you are driving. Rotating and balancing your tires is great advice. However, it must be done correctly. Not completing the procedure can have other unintended consequences. to other engine components.

Here is what happened to me recently:

While returning from northern Baltimore to Columbia after delivering the summer 2022 edition of the Little Patuxent Review, browsing round the local bookstore, Snug Book and then picking a cup of coffee, I headed south through the Harbor Tunnel – an easier route with lighter traffic.

I was feeling happy and satisfied with my day until I was just inside the tunnel and all I saw were brake lights! I suddenly felt claustrophobic until the traffic started to move slowly. Suddenly, my low tire pressure warning light came on announcing that my left front tire pressure had dropped from 38 to 20 psi. An emergency vehicle came by slowly, the traffic in the tunnel stopped again and my blood pressure went up as the tire pressure dropped a few more psi!

Eventually the traffic cleared but by now my tire pressure was down to 12 psi! I found a quiet spot a few miles down the road and stopped. I checked the left front tire. Despite what the low-pressure warning light, indicated, my left front tire looked fully inflated. I walked round the car, and the rest of the tires looked good too. Since the car didn’t seem to be experiencing any real problems, I decided to drive the final 12 miles to Columbia. The steering felt fine and steered straight. Could my car have “run flat tires”? It doesn’t have a space tire just a tube of tire sealer, so it was a possibility.

I was only a quarter mile from my destination when the pressure dropped to zero. That’s when I heard a noise from the right rear side of the car. What on earth was going on? Why was the noise coming from the rear of the car when it was supposed to be the left front tire with the issue? At the stop light I quickly checked the tires and sure enough the right rear tire was flat and off the rim!

Then I remembered I had rotated and balanced my tires a few months ago. Apparently, I forgot to reset the system to allow the computer to know the new location of each wheel. I only had myself to blame!

I wanted to share this experience to emphasize how critical it is to reset the computer after each tire rotation. If this is not done, the computer cannot sense the proper location of each tire and, in my case, provided me with incorrect information. It takes an experienced auto tech only 15 minutes to reset the computer, but it requires the use of a special scanning tool on most vehicles. When this procedure is followed, your car’s tire pressure warning light will work properly.

I also forgot to take my own advice and keep a tire pressure gauge in my car. If I had used this simple device to evaluate the pressure in each tire, I could have caught the problem sooner.

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.