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Eastern USA Local discussions for those in the Eastern USA. (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, DC. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)

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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:06   #1
silverstick
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central New Jersey
Fuel Economy: 50 mpg ('02) and 48 mpg ('05)
Default Tires rapidly losing tread


For our 2002 Jetta sedan, I ordered Michelin Pilot Exalto all-season tires through TireRack and had them dropped and installed at a service station in Hopewell, N.J., where I also had an alignment done. That was 775 miles back, and now the front tires are wearing significantly.

The front right has already lost more than 1/32nd of an inch of tread -- something like 15% of the useful tread. (It started with 10/32nds, which is still what both rear tires have. I normally change tires when they're down to 3/32nds.) The front left has also lost tread, though not as much.

I took the front right tire off and looked for cupping, but wasn't able to see any. I checked the tread in all four grooves at 10 or so different areas, and the wear is fairly even -- the outside seems to have lost a bit more than the other grooves, but not much.

Obviously, I need to get the alignment redone pronto. I have an appointment for that at Millennium VW in Somerville for this Thursday, Jan. 18, but thought I'd check the forum for any advice you'd be willing to share. (Will they be able to give me any readings to show how far off the alignment is before they do the new alignment? I thought I'd take that information to the original installer and try to get a refund for at least the lousy alignment he did. I'm not counting on that, of course. By the way, I saw him using a tape measure during his "alignment" to check the distance between various corresponding points on the two front tires.)

Thanks.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:47   #2
20IndigoBlue02
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The original place should of given you a print out of before/after alignment specs.

Tire wear.... Pilot Exalto isn't exactly a long wearing tire. After this set, you may want to get a set that has a higher wear rating
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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:54   #3
silverstick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20IndigoBlue02
Pilot Exalto isn't exactly a long wearing tire. After this set, you may want to get a set that has a higher wear rating
At this rate, I'll be in the market for new ones by sometime in June.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 17:19   #4
diy_fool
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Default Get that car properly aligned pronto

The tires will continue to wear excessively until aligned properly.

Had a similar issue years ago. The tire shop aligned my car, using a computer system, but the tire jocky had no clue what he was doing. The new tires wore excessively. When I finally brought the car to a reputable front end shop, they used the old fashioned stick with pointers and showed the toe in was off by 3/4 inch!!!

While it is possible to use a tape to set some alignment parameters like toe in, say during an emergency side of the road adjustment (been there)there is no excuse in today's age to do so. Good or bad equipment, the operator makes a huge difference.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 07:58   #5
Jeffmx5
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An alignment shop should be able to tell you what the existing alignment is before they correct it.

I have had a couple of bad alignments on 2 different cars. They seemed to drive fine but the excessive tire wear was the dead give-away that there was a problem. Unfortunately by the time tire wear is normally noticed new tires are required.

A number of years ago I found a good alignment shop. They would even do custom alignments that I specified for running the Miata on the track. Even though I have moved I still go back to the same place because the alignment tech is the same guy and he does an excellent job.

A good alignment tech will check for wheel bearing, tie-rod, ball joint, and other suspension wear before starting an alignment. If any suspension component is worn it will cause the alignment to move about due to the slop in the worn components. A lazy or ignorent tech won't bother to check first and you will get an improper alignment.

Once you find a good shop/tech keep going back there. A cheap alignment that chews up $500 worth of tires is no bargain.

I use Schlott Tire in Tewksbury MA. They have a web page if your interested.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 19:09   #6
silverstick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffmx5
Once you find a good shop/tech keep going back there. A cheap alignment that chews up $500 worth of tires is no bargain.

I use Schlott Tire in Tewksbury MA. They have a web page if your interested.
Thanks for the clear explanation of how a sloppy tech can overlook important stuff.

I'm certainly in the market for a good alignment shop, but Massachusetts is probably out of my range for that kind of work (although Maine might not be too far for a timing belt). I've had some PM exchanges with another New Jersey TDI Club member, Hevster1, who uses OK car and truck in Stewartsville, N.J., not too far east of Easton, Pa., on I-78. Maybe I'll stop there next.

Thanks again.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:19   #7
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but once a tire begins to wear unevenly because of a bad alighnment or whatever, it usually continues to wear in the same pattern as it had before the fix. An alighnment might extend your mileage a bit, but the damage has been done. I'd watch the Tirerack ads closely for a sale in the near future. For what it's worth, I had good wear with Nokian tires on my Jetta, though they are biased more toward winter driving and they are expensive. Good luck!
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