Q: I have a 2008
Chevy Tahoe in AWD with 80,000 miles. Getting ready to put new tires
on it; should I have the alignment checked? There are no indications
of poor alignment, e.g. wear is uniform and the vehicle steers
straight. Is it worth the extra expense to have it checked out?
— K.D., Naperville,
A: When you plunk
down major money for new tires, the cost of a wheel alignment is
small by comparison. Yes, it is a good idea, but make sure they do a
four-wheel alignment just in case there is an issue with the thrust
line of the vehicle. More than likely, your vehicle will be fine,
but a few adjustments to the steering and suspension now could pay
off in better tire wear.
Q: I have a 2016 Ford
F-350. I ran over a piece of metal and had to get a new tire. I have
a “low tire pressure” message when starting the truck. I have
tried to get rid of the message short of the lengthy process
described in the owner’s manual. Is there a shortcut that will
reset the sensor?
— P.P., Fort
A: Your tire dealer
should have reset the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) as part
of the job. In fact, it is illegal for a tire dealer to release a
vehicle with a defective TPMS sensor. Go back to the shop from which
you bought the tire and ask it to do the reset.
Q: My van is making
engine noise. At first I noticed it when the A/C ran and now when
the heater is on. It is not a loud noise, and it starts about 5
minutes after either one is on. It sounds just a little different, a
little louder than normal. Yesterday, when the car was idling for
about 10 minutes the same noise started. When driving without the
A/C or heater on it is fine. It does not seem to come from the
engine. Any ideas?
— B.H., Brookfield,
A: It is very likely
the blower motor or the squirrel cage (fan). As the motor bearings
fail, they start with a low rumble or growl and eventually begin
screaming for replacement. Better have it fixed before winter as you
will be using the heater and defroster a lot.
Q: My 2015 VW GTI
tires are 225/40-R18. When I replace them I would like to get a tire
with a bigger sidewall at maybe 50 or more. I asked my service
adviser about my plan and he said it wouldn’t work because the
increase would confuse the computer and cause damage to the
transmission. Your thoughts?
— G.G., Orland
A: If you simply
switch to taller tires — having a higher aspect ratio — the
service adviser is right. However, if you match those tires with the
proper wheels, you should have no problem. Visit your favorite tire
dealer, where the staff will have the proper conversion data. Or, go