It pays to be observant


#1

Monday after leaving work my car was starting to wobble a bit about 30~35mph. Got up to 45~50, and anything faster than that probably would have given me an earthquake experience; you could see my steering wheel vibrating at the 45~50mph mark.

I didn’t really have a safe place to pull over(plus it was like 15 degrees and real windy outside), so I kept my speed down til I got to a place I could pull into to get a look. The steering wheel vibration made me think it was the front tires, but the lack of my TPMS lighting up made me wonder what was really going on. The vibration felt like it was coming from my driver’s side wheel, so that was the wheel I paid more attention to when I got a chance to look at it. I kicked what little snow had accumulated in my wheel wells off, in case that might have been it, but it wasn’t.

I had my battery replaced sunday, so I thought that maybe the TPMS might not have been fully “settled in” to read correctly, so I checked the pressure, which was fine. I should have checked my passenger tire when I checked my driver’s side, but I was in a big hurry to get home.
This morning I went to check the pressure in my passenger side front tire and found the REAL culprit to my vibration; snow had accumulated in my rim and froze in there. I couldn’t even get to the valve stem because of snow/ice accumulation on the rim. Chunking off what I could this morning before I left with my ice scraper made some of the vibration go away. Checking before I left work today I was able to clear off most of the snow/ice out of there before I left.

So, in conclusion, while I am OCD about keeping snow/ice off my wheel wells, I have never thought to check the rims because I have never encountered this problem before in all my time driving. Not only should you check your wheel wells for snow and ice, you should check your wheels as well.


#2

Some years ago, a co-worker complained to me that his Jeep CJ-5 had picked up a strong vibration at highway speed. I went out, took one look at all the snow and ice packed on his rims and told him to run it through a car wash. Next day he reported back: problem solved!

When wheel weights are broken down to 1/4oz graduations, it makes sense that snow and ice on a rim will throw the balance off. It happend to my car last weekend.


#3

I’ve encountered the problem.

As a matter of fact, I had two tires on rims in the back of my pickup one year with ice in spots in the rims. I stopped to get new rubber put on, specifically told the guys to get the ice off before mounting and balancing the new rubber, and they DIDN"T. It was the end of t he day and they were too busy screwing around to bother. Bottom line, they ended up staying after closing time removing the ice and rebalancing the wheels.


#4

Big question now, do you need to check the rims on the interior side? luckily not my problem at the moment.


#5

I would.


#6

Never had that problem but thats sure something to keep in mind.


#7

Be observant about more than wheels and tires.

Know your vehicle.
You’ll notice if they ;
Scratch you paint.
Steal your receiver hitch chrome step.
Steal your antenna
Took something from inside 'cuz you left it unlocked.
Bonked your mirrors out of whack.
Take one hub cap
etc.

Plus you’ll notice…if you’re observant…as you pull up behind a pickup…if any of your lights are out.
—If you’ll back in at the store you can check your rear lights in the reflection.

And this is what I tell my non-mechanicaly knowledgeable wife.
Know your car.
You may not know WHAT’S wrong with it …but it’s YOU who will know that SOMETHING is wrong with it.
I’ll take it from there.


#8

Ken, that’s the one thing I really grumble about when going through the car wash; the guys drying off the car will occasionally bump the side mirror out of whack and I have to spend a few minutes of OCD adjusting to get it back where it was.

I don’t have to worry about hubcaps, though, as the rims are alloy and are shaped the way they are; no fake large brake kit or spinner 14" hubcaps for me. I don’t look forward to having to replace them, though.


#9

I haven’t seen one of those spinner hubcaps in a few years . . .


#10

Come to the Back to the 50’s car show in St. Paul in June. With over 10,000 cars 1964 and older, you’ll see plenty of spinners and baby moons on all variety of cars.


#11

Ken hit the nail on the head. “Know your car”!!!

I may not drive the wifes car for two weeks, but if I do…as soon as I start out, I can tell if something is amiss.

Iced up wheels: We have a carport attached to the house and because we had gotten quite a bit of snow already, I decided that I should remove some of it, so it doesn’t collapse on the cars.
My truck with the utility box is just over 7ft from the ground to the top,. I thought that I’d just pull the truck along side and stand on the cap to pull the snow toward me. It worked much better than a ladder and when I had the snow on the ground,I drove the truck out and shoveled the snow away.
Never thought to look at the wheels on that side later. I pulled enough snow off that the pile was 4feet high next to the truck. The next morning I didn’t make it a mile before I noticed that it was handling strange. That rear wheel was so packed with snow!!!