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(413) 734-1746 • 175 Chestnut Street • Springfield, MA
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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Bearings



Why are wheel bearings for Springfield vehicles important? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE post, we'll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very job while you drive around Springfield, Massachusetts.

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They're made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles (160,000)  or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds (1600 kilogram), each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds (400 kilograms). That's a lot of heavy lifting over those long distances.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for Springfield vehicles. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It's when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren't sealed can be serviced on schedule at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they're re-installed – if not, they're replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty costly – but they usually last about 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers) as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that's exerting pressure on the seal. So if you've driven through hub-deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they're serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your manufacturer's owner's manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers).

If you have any sort of trailer, don't forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don't have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens to Springfield vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don't need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE and see if your vehicle's wheel bearings can be serviced and when it's recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you've been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE for a wheel bearing inspection. 

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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Springfield Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of driving around Springfield on underinflated tires. Admittedly, it's hard to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your vehicle tires are considered significantly underinflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

New laws require all vehicles to include a tire pressure monitor system, or TPMS. This technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from underinflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It's up to your vehicle's manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they'll use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Springfield drivers. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.

Your safety has always been a priority at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE. We want you on the road and accident free. We've traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We've been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.

Like all other Springfield service centers, here at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE we've had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our friendly and knowledgeable service technicians at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE  have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price. This safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Springfield, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

 

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Tire Rotation and Balancing at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE in Springfield

Tires do a lot of work for Springfield drivers. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around Springfield. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such important work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly pricey, you want them to last as long as possible.


There are three keys to long, even tire wear for Springfield driving:

  • Proper tire inflation
  • Proper wheel alignment
  • Regular tire rotation and balancing

The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That's especially true of front-wheel-drive vehicles whose front tires steer and put the power to the road.

SUVs and pick-ups, especially four-wheel-drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drivetrain set-up. Your owner's manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It's usually every 5,000 miles/8,000 km or so.

Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your friendly and knowledgeable TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE service advisor puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.


Tires are a big investment for Springfield drivers. They're designed for keeping you safely on the road in Springfield. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?

 TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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Picking the Right Tires in Springfield

Shopping for tires in Springfield can be bewildering because there are many choices. Let's simplify. There are four main classifications of tires, each designed for different purposes.

First off, there are summer tires. Those who buy summer tires in Springfield are looking for maximum summertime performance. The rubber is a little softer to help stick to the road on fast corners on Massachusetts roads. The tread has wide blocks at the shoulder to stiffen the tire in turns. The tread design can handle rain but really isn't set up for snow and ice.

Next comes winter tires. Springfield people buy winter tires because they still like performance driving when it's cold and slippery on Massachusetts roads, so they need a tread design that'll really bite into ice and snow. The rubber compound is formulated to stay pliable when temperatures drop below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C so they get great traction even on dry roads. On the other end of the winter tire spectrum are tires designed to handle well in severe ice and snow conditions.

The third category is all-season tires. Most new cars in Springfield showrooms come with all-season tires. This is a tire that is designed to be used all year round. The tread design and rubber compound is a compromise that won't give you the extreme capabilities of summer or winter tires; but if you're driving and weather conditions aren't at the extreme ends of the range, all-season tires might suit you just fine.

The last category is what you might have on your SUV or pickup. All-terrain or off-road tires are designed for both highway and off-road use – a tire that gets good traction in the dirt and on off-road obstacles, but still performs well on paved Springfield roads.

Choosing the right tire is important for Springfield car owners. Talk with your TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE tire professional about your driving requirements and receive valuable guidance on tires that will meet your needs.

Give us a call.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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Springfield, Massachusetts Winter Prep Service for Your Auto

When winter approaches in Massachusetts, Springfield residents break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for Massachusetts winter conditions. Your vehicle needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing Springfield residents want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your vehicle to be safe and reliable. It's a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime - but the stakes are higher in cold Massachusetts winters.

There are some specific things Springfield drivers need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can't properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE in Springfield. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold months around Springfield we always worry about being able to stop in time when it's slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE service advisor to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is also a really good idea for Springfield residents to have their battery tested. A battery's cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a Massachusetts winter. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.

Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote Massachusetts road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is a good idea in case you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm, which will also help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

 

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Beware of Cheap Tires in Springfield

Do you like to shop for shoes in Springfield?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pairs of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

Springfield drivers should also think about the safety aspect of tires. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction on Massachusetts freeways and surface streets. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on Massachusetts highways, the tires need a high load rating.

Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Springfield tire professional at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE. I think it's important that Springfield residents understand the effect of price on a tire's quality, performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad would say, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many.”

The same principle applies to tires. The major tire brands that you're familiar with in Springfield are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are high quality and well-engineered. Comparable vehicle Tier 1 tires are usually priced similarly.

Stepping down, you come to private label tires. Some large Massachusetts tire store chains carry tires with their own brand. It's important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 companies that you are familiar with – so you are pretty safe in choosing them. To be sure, you can ask your TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE tire professional which manufacturer makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market in Springfield are Tier 3 tires which are usually imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can't expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.


What's the difference in the tires with high mileage warranties? It's the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you'll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that touch the road. You're only as safe as your tires are well built. Buy value – not price.

Give us a call.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

 

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Automotive Tips from TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE: Where Should New Tires Be Placed

When Springfield drivers need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your friendly and professional TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE tire professional can help you know when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money on Tires



Springfield drivers want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you'll feel it in the steering wheel. If it's a rear wheel you'll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your technician at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a vehicle wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Springfield folks' tires last longer. Underinflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Overinflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four-wheel-drive trucks and SUV's tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE a call to get our recommendation for your vehicle.

See your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It's usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or 8,000 to 13,000 km.

Tires are among the most important safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they'll take care of you.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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All About Your TPMS in Springfield



Springfield drivers know that underinflated tires wear out more quickly. Underinflation is also a major cause of tire failure for Massachusetts auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of underinflated tires.

It's hard for many Springfield drivers to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your owner’s manual recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent U.S. federal law required vehicle manufacturer’s to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System - or TPMS system - in all vehicles. Many Canadian vehicles have them as well.  The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25% below its pressure recommendations.

Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Springfield car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

Massachusetts service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE service advisors have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you've noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Springfield service center just wants to keep you safely on the road - and it's committed to do so at a fair price. Remember, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

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The TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE Guide to Tire Specs

You know you need new tires, but you're not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the Springfield service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing for many Springfield drivers. There's so much on the side of the tire, and it's hard to keep straight.

Even though there's a lot on a tire - if you know what it all means, it's actually more helpful than confusing for Springfield tire shoppers. Let's start with the size number.

For example, let's say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters - the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio - the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it's a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index - it's the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty vehicle can be safe with a lower number, but you'll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads around Springfield. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires sold in Springfield are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating - with the exception of H - it comes between U and V (don't ask why).

There's a lot of fine print that most Springfield area drivers probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there are the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line - a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within the manufacturers product line - you can't compare with others. And it's important to note that a lower rating might be just what you want - a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won't wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners on twisting Massachusetts roads.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A - the best, B - intermediate, C - acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire's resistance to heat buildup in government tests. A, B and C - from best to acceptable.

It's safe for Springfield drivers to go with the vehicle manufacturers original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you'll now be better equipped to communicate with your friendly and knowledgeable TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE tire professional.

TYRE TRAK AUTOMOTIVE
175 chestnut st
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
4137341746

 

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About Us Tyre Trak Automotive Center is a pillar of the community. Tyre Trak Automotive Center is a leader in offering name brand tires, auto repair and brake services, state inspections for customers located in and around the Springfield, Massachusetts area. Our goal is to focus on customer service. It is the foundation of our business. Tyre Trak Automotive Center employs a well-trained staff specializing in the sale and installation of passenger car, performance and light truck or SUV tires. Complete under-car services, such as oil changes, brake repairs, and wheel alignments are readily available at competitive prices. Take this opportunity to browse Tyre Trak Automotive Center website or call us for personalized service.
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