Your vehicle has survived the harsh winter, and with the temperature reaching a consistent 7°C, it’s time to bring out your maintenance checklist and, most importantly, change your tires.
CAA South Central Ontario suggests one item to keep in mind that may not be on your list, is checking your tires to minimize the likelihood of wheel separation. A wheel separation is the unintended release of any active wheel from a moving vehicle. These incidents occur most commonly during the months of May through August after motorists switch from winter to all season tires.
“Wheel separation can not only cause traffic congestion from broken down vehicles, but also property damage, injuries and even fatalities,” said Kaitlynn Furse, public relations manager, CAA SCO. “It is important to pay careful attention when changing your tires whether you or your local repair facility make the switch.”
According to the Ministry of Transportation, wheel separations in light-duty vehicles are a significant but largely unknown problem in southern Ontario. Drivers should keep in mind that wheels do not just separate from heavy trucks, but also from cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks.
OPP data shows that over the four years ending December 2016 that wheel separations from light-duty vehicles occurred in cars 42 per cent of the time, with SUVs and pick-up trucks also at a higher risk of 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
According to the MTO, 85 per cent of wheel separation incidents are caused by a fastener failure, when the lug nuts or bolts holding the wheel in place come loose or break, causing the wheel to come off of the vehicle.
CAA SCO recommends following industry standards for wheel installation which includes:
- cleaning rim and hub mating surfaces
- checking that correct fasteners are used
- proper torquing of fasteners torque checks (not all manufacturers recommend)
If you are unsure about any part of the installation of a wheel on your vehicle, be sure to take the vehicle to a qualified shop for its seasonal tire change. CAA has compiled a list of Approved Auto Repair Service facilities that have been vetted for quality service standards.
To make sure your vehicle is all ready to go, you can follow these seven easy tips for your spring maintenance:
- Change tires. Switch to your all-season tires and rotate them to promote even wear. Don’t forget to check air pressure and adjust to vehicle manufacturers’ settings, as required.
- Wipe it down. Give your vehicle a thorough cleaning to remove all the salt and sand accumulated over the winter months.
- Change fluids. Check to see if your engine oil and transmission fluid are due for a change and proceed if required. Top up your fluids to help keep your car running trouble free.
- Replace wipers. Replace your blades if they are worn or damaged.
- Check lights. Check all lights to ensure they are in good working condition.
- Check hoses and belts. Replace those that have become swollen, cracked, excessively worn or frayed.
- Battery. Inspect your vehicle’s battery to make sure all the connections are clean and dry. If your battery fails, CAA’s Mobile Battery Service will test, replace and recycle your old battery from your home, workplace or even the side of the road.
Photo Credit: CAA SCO via Twitter