It's bound to happen to everyone at one point or another - you're cruising down the freeway in Alaska and you get a flat tire or have a blow-out. We can't help you when you are out mudding in the AK back-woods, but we can help you find a local on-site tire and wheel mechanic that will help you get back on the road. Find a Alaska flat repair or wheel replacement professional using our directory of local businesses.
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Getting the most out of your tire investment includes the proper care and maintenance that you can do along with tire-related services. Free tire inspections by tire professionals in Alaska are almost always available, but learn what you can do to get better mileage and performance on your own.
Proper inflation is the single most important factor in tire care. The inflation pressure imprinted on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum operating pressure determined by the tire manufacturer. It is not necessarily the correct inflation for your vehicle's tires.
You should always use the inflation recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This information can be found in the owner's manual and often on a label located in the vehicle's doorjamb, inside the fuel hatch, or on the glove compartment door.
Regular rotation extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run. Each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. This ensures that all of the tires wear evenly and last longer. If no period is specified in your owner's manual, the tires should be rotated every 6,000-8,000 miles.
Alignment generally refers to the adjustment of a vehicle's front and rear suspension parts. Proper alignment ensures that your vehicle handles correctly and will help increase the life and performance of your tires. The alignment of your vehicle can be knocked out of adjustment from daily impacts such as potholes and railroad crossings, or by more severe accidents. You should have the alignment checked if:
Balancing means compensating for both the weight of the tire and wheel after the tire is mounted. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. This can cause irregular treadwear and vibration, and increase the stress on the front-end parts, which may cause them to wear prematurely.
You should have your wheels balanced whenever a tire is replaced, when a balance weight is moved or removed, and whenever you purchase new tires. Of course, at the first sign of vibration or irregular treadwear, your car should be thoroughly checked for wheel balance and alignment, and for worn or broken mechanical parts.
Here are some tips to help increase the life of your tires:
The following recommendation applies to passenger car tires and light truck tires in Alaska (and everywhere else!). Tires are composed of various types of material and rubber compounds that have performance properties essential to the proper functioning of the tire itself. These component properties evolve over time. For each tire, this evolution depends upon many factors such as weather, storage conditions, and conditions of use (load, speed, inflation pressure, maintenance etc.) to which the tire is subjected throughout its life. This service-related evolution varies widely so that accurately predicting the serviceable life of any specific tire in advance is not possible.
That is why, in addition to regular inspections and inflation pressure maintenance by consumers, it is recommended to have passenger car tires and light truck tires, including spare tires, inspected regularly by a qualified Alaska tire specialist, such as a tire dealer, who will assess the tire's suitability for continued service. Tires which have been in use for 5 years or more should be inspected by a AK specialist at least once per year.
Consumers are strongly encouraged to be aware not only of their tires' visual condition and inflation pressure but also of any change in dynamic performance such as increased air loss, noise or vibration, which could be an indication that the tires need to be removed from service to prevent tire failure.
It is impossible to predict when tires should be replaced based on their calendar age alone . However the older a tire the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced due to the service-related evolution or other conditions found upon inspection or detected during use.
While most tires will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tires in service 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tires, be replaced with new tires as a simple precaution even if such tires appear serviceable and have not reached the legal wear limit.
For tires that were on an original equipment vehicle (i.e., acquired by the consumer on a new vehicle), follow the vehicle manufacturer's tire replacement recommendations, when specified (but not to exceed 10 years).
The date when a tire was manufactured is located on the sidewall of each tire. Consumers should locate the Department of Transportation or DOT code on the tire which begins with DOT and ends with the week and year of manufacture. For example, a DOT code ending with "2204" indicates a tire made in the 22nd week (May) of 2004.
If you need to purchase only two new tires, insist that they are installed on your vehicle's rear axle. New tires grip the road better and when the new tires are mounted on the rear, they will help reduce the potential for your vehicle to fishtail or hydroplane in wet conditions.