Automotive Column 8 from Under The Hood Tires AWD And 4WD
Syndicated Newspaper Column
We all know that worn out tires can cause a loss of traction and lead to flat tires but there is another thing to think about when your tires are wearing if you have a 4x4 or all wheel drive car or truck. Tires of great enough wear difference can actually lead to parts failures. Read on to learn more.
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Dear Motor Medics,
I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado half ton truck that is 4 wheel drive with an auto position. The tires on the front have completely worn out and the rear has about 25 percent left. I would like to replace just the front at this time and when the back has completely worn out replace them. Tires have become very expensive so I’m trying to budget but the tire store says this should not be done because it could damage the truck. Are they serious?
Dan in Cleveland Ohio
Yes, they are serious. On vehicles with 4wd it is important that the tire diameter on all wheels is very close to each other, usually about 1/16th of an inch. It is important to rotate your tires regularly so they wear evenly maintaining this measurement. If tires become worn on just one end the rolling distance per revolution changes resulting in transfer case binding because one end is traveling faster than the other. If the case binds with regular 4wd the case or ujoints may become damaged or tire wear can become accelerated. With an automatic case containing clutches, the case can become damaged in a short distance of driving in four wheel drive resulting in very expensive repairs. If you have a vehicle with four wheel drive and you have a difference of more than 1/16th of an inch follow the recommendations of your mechanic to avoid very costly repairs.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.