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Tip of the Month

Drifting or Pulling.

When your car starts pulling or drifting to one side while driving the wheel alignment usually gets blamed, but actually about 95% of the time it is the tires and not the alignment. While it is best to have an alignment if there is any doubt about it being out of specification, if a tire rotate cures or makes a difference it was most likely the tires.

Radial tires use cords or belts for strength and are designed to grip the road. If these cords are slightly off from normal, the tire can grip the road unevenly causing a pull. The tire belts can be damaged or misaligned from impacts such as potholes but sometimes they are off slightly from the factory. If any of the tires have any bulges in the tread area, known as separations or broken belts, the tire must be replaced. Failure to replace a tire with a broken belt can result in a blow out and possible vehicle damage. Very slight bulges on the sidewall, small dimples are normal and can be found on any tire. The dimples are the seams where the tires have been put together at the factory.


If you have a pull or drifting problem, first check the air in the tires as a low tire or mismatched tires can cause this. If that is OK, cross rotate the tires from side to side and see if the pull goes away or goes the other way. If so you have found your problem.

When radial tires first came out it was not recommended to rotate radial tires in any kind of cross rotation pattern. This was is no longer true as manufacturers have resolved this problem with better tire construction.

If the pulling only happens when you are braking, get the brakes checked immediately as this is usually a brake or steering problem.


Visit Wayne's Garage for your car repair and service in the Eugene and Springfield area. We are an AAA Approved Automobile Repair Facility and have been awarded the Blue Seal of Excellence by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Warning Lights


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Automotive Recalls

We often hear about auto recalls when they become big news, but recalls happen quite often and are not always publicized. Many cars running around out on the road have recalls that have never been addressed.

For those who bought used vehicles or have moved since a vehicle purchase, they may not get a notice.

How do you find out if there is a recall on your car? Go to Carfax and enter your make and VIN#. If your car is not listed you can check with a dealer or go to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

Millions of drivers could be endangered by operating vehicles that have been recalled but have not been repaired, according to an investigation conducted by Edmunds. They found there were at least 2.7 million vehicles listed for sale last year that still were subject to unfulfilled recalls. There are no laws that require a car's owner to notify a potential buyer that the car being sold is the subject of a recall. More about recalls and 14 of the largest.starbar.gif

Ignoring that Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light When the first GM cars with onboard computers and diagnostic capabilities came out in the early 80's, they could recognize a limited amount of problems and could store less than 20 trouble codes. It's not unusual for an average car today to recognize and set 125 codes or more just for the engine and transmission.

Then there is Anti-lock Brakes, Traction Control, Air Bag, suspension and other systems that have their own codes.

Some of these engine and transmission codes are for problems that usually won't cause problems we notice while driving. We often hear, "that light has been on for years, I don't worry about it anymore" or "Since this is a minor problem, can I continue driving it and not fix it right now?"
Unfortunately you only have one check engine light. If you ignore the light because of a problem that doesn't seem to affect the way the car drives, something else might crop up that will cause big problems and you may not know until it's too late because the light is already on.

Some problems that the light can come on to warn you about can cause poor mileage or be a warning that you may be left by the side of the road soon. Other warnings can be about things that can cause catalytic converter, transmission or engine failure.


See more Automotive Service and Repair Tips at Wayne's Garage

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Many of today's cars have more than 100 million lines of software code running everything from navigation systems to braking systems.


Wayne's Garage - serving Eugene and Springfield, Oregon car and light truck needs.

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333 Q Street
Springfield, Oregon