Dr. Johnny’s Car Clinic: Keeping the ride smooth

In past columns, I’ve talked about the role tires play in your car’s gas efficiency. Today, let’s take that a step further with how tires make a smooth ride.

There are several things to look for when your tires may be the reason you are experiencing a bumpy or uneven ride. Let’s start with the first and most obvious. Your tires need air. The most common problem is not having enough air in the tires. Tires function like springs, so if they are underinflated or overinflated, your car’s ride can feel either too soft or too stiff.

Another factor is alignment. If the tires are not properly aligned, then you can experience a bumpy ride. Closely related is your tire’s rim width and size. If the size is not what is recommended for your vehicle, then you could experience an uneven ride. Of course if you are set on having custom rims, then your service technician will have the tools and machinery necessary to properly balance them.

Yet another issue that can cause bumpy rides has to do with the seating of your tires. If that isn’t done correctly, the tires won’t spin true, which then compromises the tire’s balance after just a few miles of driving.

Another issue is your tire’s tread. If the alignment or suspension isn’t done correctly, over time it can cause high and low areas of wear on the tires’ circumference. While it may not be extreme, it can lead to a shaky ride. These areas of wear may or may not be visible with your eye, so your trusted service technician can more closely and expertly examine your tires.

Speaking of your tire’s tread, separation can cause vibrations both vertically and horizontally. Again, your service technician is trained to look for these problems with both his eyes and hands. It’s best to let your service technician diagnose this issue, as simply running your own hands over the tire’s circumference and tire walls could cause injury should you encounter unseen, exposed steel.

So when it comes to your car’s tires, there are several things to watch for when you feel that your smooth ride is no longer smooth. When you’re experiencing a bumpy ride, it’s a problem that should be addressed sooner than later. After all, keeping your car running smoothly and efficiently means it is running at its best for you.

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Johnny Nocera has been on the radio airwaves for more than 27 years in Southwest Florida with “Dr. Johnny’s Car Clinic.” The show now airs on WGUF 98.9 FM every Saturday from 9-10 a.m.. He also owns, along with his sons Jr. and Jimmy, Supreme Auto and Collision located in downtown Naples, and has been in business for more than 37 years. You can contact him via e-mail at drjohnnys@aol.com.

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