As the tread wears down on your car's tires every several years, you're probably used to going to your local tire shop to get them replaced. But did you know that there are many services beyond selling tires that your local tire shop provides that could save you time and money? Some of these services are even offered at no charge if you purchase your tires from the same shop. Read on to find out more about what your local tire shop can do for you.
Oil Changes and Tire Rotations
Changing your car's oil is important: it prevents oil from seeping into and building up in the colder parts of the engine and picking up too much sediment, which can create a thick, oily substance known commonly as "sludge" that ruins engines. The old standard for changing a car's oil was every 3,000 miles, but as cars have changed, so has the rule. Now vehicle manufacturers will recommend different mileage intervals depending on the vehicle. Whether your oil change comes at the standard 3,000 miles or longer, most tire shops will recommend rotating your tires on the same intervals. Tire rotations are important because they keep the wear and tear on your tires even, helping the tires last as long as possible. Many tire shops offer free tire rotations when you purchase tires from them, and you can save yourself time and stress by having them change the oil for a small additional cost at the same time.
Your brakes are obviously important--they help you to slow and stop and can keep you from getting in accidents if someone stops short in front of you. If you notice a shimmying or shaking when you apply the brakes or if you notice a grinding noise, you'll want to have your brakes checked. Because the brakes are right behind the wheels, they're easy for a tire shop to access, especially if they already have your wheels off for a rotation or to replace the tires. Most tire shops will replace your brake pads for a small price or can let you know if your brakes need more serious help from a mechanic. Much like oil and tire rotations, manufacturers recommend replacing brake pads at certain mileage intervals, so it's likely you'll be at the tire shop for other services anyway, saving you an extra trip.
Alignment Checks and Realignment
People often forget or ignore alignment issues, assuming that the problems with their car's steering is just a symptom of the car getting older. The alignment of your car is how truly straight the wheels are and how in-line they are with one another. When the alignment is off, your tires can get worn in uneven spots quickly, creating the possibility of a dangerous blowout while you're on the road. Problems with the alignment can also cause problems with steering the vehicle and keeping it true (if your car drifts or pulls to one side when you let go of the wheel, it's likely an alignment issue). Because the alignment deals with the position of the wheels, it's easy for tire shops to check and set the alignment when they're working on changing or rotating your tires, and many shops offer free realignment with your tire purchase.
Beyond what's already been covered, when you purchase your tires from most tire shops, they also offer free air-pressure checks, flat repair, and pre-trip checks to make sure your wheels and tires are set before you take a long road trip. Some tire shops will even clean your fuel system and install batteries, windshield wiper blades, air filters, head and tail lights, and so on for a small additional cost. For more info, ask your local shop what services they offer and which ones they offer for free with purchase of tires, to help save yourself time and money and to keep your car running smoothly.