Tire tracker

Steering You Right with Sharon Peters

Q: Here’s another battle that I hope you can declare a victor on. My husband always marks the tires with chalk when I go to have them rotated. That ensures it really gets done. He got into a little argument last week when he picked up the car, saying they’d shifted the wrong tires to the wrong places. The tire guy insisted there is a different rotation pattern for front-wheel-drive cars as opposed to four-wheel drive. I’m figuring the tire guy, who, after all, does this about 100 times a week, knows what he’s talking about and put all the tires in the right places. My husband says no way; rotation is what it is and they did it wrong.

A: Well, the tire guy may or may not have followed the recommended rotation pattern and put the wheels where they should have been placed. But he was correct when he said that the usual rotation pattern for rear- and four-wheel drive vehicles is different from the usual pattern for front-wheel drive.

If you’ll go to safercar.gov and click on the tire segment, you can see common rotation patterns.

Your husband might decide to make a printout of those patterns and wave them in the face of the tire guy. Or not. Depending, probably, on whether they support what he told the tire guy that day.

Also, I suggest you check your owner’s manual. In rare instances the rotation pattern can be different from the common ones usually followed.

Q: We recently had an overheating situation on the road. Although the next exit was only three or four miles away, my boyfriend pulled over, wouldn’t move, and called the auto club. Naturally the whole ordeal wasted two hours of our time. I believe we could have gone the four miles to the service station, gotten everything taken care of and been on our way in 10 minutes. I think he was being a little old auntie and he says my approach would have been highly irresponsible and probably would have ruined the car. What’s your take?

A: I’ve gotta side with your boyfriend. When the temperature light is on or the needle moves into the red zone of the temperature gauge, it’s an immediate-crisis signal. It is telling you to pull over instantly and turn off the car.

While it is possible you could have managed to travel the extra four miles, it is more likely that driving with an overheated engine would have caused engine damage.

Here’s the best procedure under the circumstances you described: Once you’ve immediately stopped the car as far into a safe zone as you can, don’t instantly pull off the radiator cap. The overheated coolant will gush like a geyser.

Give the car time to cool down (and don’t hasten the process by dumping water over it as the dramatic temperature change can be a very bad thing).

When it has cooled down sufficiently, add more coolant. Some experts suggest you use half water and half coolant; others say pure coolant is the way to go.

© CTW Features

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com.

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