Q: I have a dedicated
set of winter tires and rims that I use from November through April,
then switch back to the set that came with my car. A local shop
stores and installs my tires. Each time, they charge me for ďtire
balancing.Ē I understand balancing when tires are placed on rims,
but wonder if it is required for dedicated rims or if I am being
charged for a service I donít need.
ó R.L., Mundelein,
A: This may be a CYA
(cover your, mmm, butt) procedure so you donít come back
complaining of a vibration. Although unlikely, it is possible one or
more balancing weights may have come off during the transition. If
you donít want the tires balanced, request that they donít do
it. But be aware of the potential issues.
Q: Hereís a new
one. I took my Audi A3 in for its 10,000-mile checkup. The TPMS had
been coming on, so I asked them to check it, since all four corners
measured pretty much the same. They said the TPMS was fine but the
tires were overinflated at 41 psi. They told me the number on the
window sticker was a ďTransportation Tire PressureĒ figure for
when the car is in transit to the dealer! Once in everyday use, the
tires should be at 36 psi, which is what they reset them to. Iíve
never heard of such a load of hooey. The factory needs to be
reminded of the proper tire pressure but the owners donít? Ever
hear of such a thing?
ó J.P., Winnetka,
A: Initially we
speculated that overinflation would help prevent flat spots during
shipping, but we turned to the technical experts at TireRack for
backup reassurance. They confirmed that flat spotting is an issue,
especially for cars that are shipped from overseas, spending much
time in transit on a ship. The vehicles are also usually strapped
down during transit. Before they are shipped to various dealerships,
even domestic vehicles may spend plenty of time in regional holding
lots. Finally, it is easier to let air out during the dealerís
pre-delivery inspection (PDI) than to add it. The PDI guy needs to
know. No hooey.
Q: I recently took my
2017 Corvette in for its second oil change (7,800 miles). Three days
later I noticed a huge cloud of white smoke in my rearview mirror
three times on that day. This has happened 11 times in the last
month, all occurring at local speeds with slight accelerations. The
dealer has had the car twice for a total of 15 days and reported
that they could not duplicate the problem and told me to just keep
driving the car until it becomes worse. GM simply advised me to
listen to the dealer and closed the three cases that were opened.
Any ideas? Thank you.
ó P.M., Coral
A: As the weather
grows cooler, even in Florida, steam may be seen puffing from the
tailpipe. One of the emissions from combustion is water, in the form
of vapor or steam. Since it is not an evil emission, there is no EPA
issue. The worst-case scenario would be a blown head gasket allowing
engine coolant to enter the combustion chamber. By the way, if
hydrogen-powered cars ever come to pass, their only emission is
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