Craftsman - AlexandriaGive Us a Call:703-719-7606
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
7001B Manchester Blvd. , Alexandria, VA 22310
Craftsman – FairfaxGive Us a Call:703-272-3216
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
11611 Lee Hwy , Fairfax, VA 22030
Craftsman - ChantillyGive Us a Call:703-646-8260
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
14510 Lee Rd. , Chantilly, VA 20151
Craftsman - MerrifieldGive Us a Call:703-646-8270
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
2733 Merrilee Drive , Merrifield, VA, 22031
Craftsman - McleanGive Us a Call:703-356-7730
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
1387 Chain Bridge Rd , McLean, VA 22101
Craftsman - Sterling/CascadesGive Us a Call:703-794-5300
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
21180 Potomac View Road , Sterling, VA 20165
Craftsman Auto Care - AshburnGive Us a Call:571-564-2070
Mon - Fri: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Sat: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
43320 Junction Plaza , Ashburn, VA 20147

Alexandria , Fairfax, Chantilly, Merrifield, Mclean Sterling/Cascades & Ashburn AUTO REPAIR

The Answers to all your Tire Questions!

How often should I get my tires rotated?

As a general rule, you should get your tires rotated when you get an oil service performed.  (about every 6-8k miles or every 6-12 months) Changing the location of the tires on your vehicle allow them to wear evenly and will give them a longer life.

What is a tire “balance”?

During tire installation services, tires are fitted to wheels and then are measured on a balancing machine and correction weights are applied on the rims to ensure that the weight of the tire and wheel assembly is evenly distributed.  Tires need to be balanced if your notice excessive vibration that can occur from regular driving conditions.  Tires should be balanced when they are rotated (about every 6-8k miles or every 6-12 months).

How often should I buy new tires?

This is definitely dependent on your mileage, environment and driving habits and how well you’ve maintained your tires.   A driver who lives in a mild climate, drives about 15k miles a year, has kept good tire pressure and has performed regular tire rotations and alignments will most likely have their tires last around 3-4 years.

If I just purchase 2 tires, where should they be mounted?

New tires should be installed in the rear if there is a significant wear difference with the existing tires.  Placing new tires in the front and worn tires in the rear creates a condition called oversteer.  This is when you lose traction in the rear and can cause the car to go into a spin, especially in the rain.   When possible, it’s best to replace all tires at once.

Where is the best place to purchase tires? Options are online merchants, big box stores, manufacturer-branded tire shops or an independent shop.

You can buy tires online but you should also consider shipping and mounting, balancing and other installation costs.  Buying online also assumes that you are knowledgeable with the latest manufacturer features and can properly match these with your needs.  Be prepared for any shipping/return costs and delays if the wrong size or type is ordered.  You will also need to find a shop that will install the tires and there may be an additional fee for bringing you own tires.  (just like a restaurant’s corkage fees).

An independent shop like Craftsman Auto Care will provide you with the best value.  Craftsman Auto Care  can match or beat any installed price.   Plus, since we’re local, we stand behind all of our service, repairs and tires and will always be available for any assistance.  Because we are not limited to a specific tire manufacturer or tire network, we can perfectly match your driving needs with the best tire option on the the market.   In addition, tires are not kept in inventory, so there are never any worries about receiving an expired tire.  We also give you lifetime rotation with the purchase of tires and if you ever need them serviced, we’re here for you!

Many times the big box  stores  sell discontinued  or overstock, outdated (expired/old) product.  If you have a problem with a discontinued tire after your purchase it can sometimes be hard to find that same tire.   Oftentimes, these shops haven’t made an investment in the best and latest tire mounting machines and alignment racks, which would result in mediocre performance.

Wherever you purchase your tires, make sure you have perfectly matched your driving needs with the tire.  That is the only assurance that you have maximized your tire investment.

Is there such thing as an old or “expired” tire?

Tires should not be older than 12 months.   Check the last four digits of the Department Of Transportation’s Tire Identification Number that is found on each tire to find when the tire was manufactured.  These last four digits of the DOT number identify the the week and year the tires were made. i.e., 1217, would be the 12th week of 2017.

After a year, rubber will begin to loose it’s stability and the integrity of it’s structure, which can put the driver at risk.

What is Caster, Camber and Toe?

These terms refer to the placement on your tires on the axle and are properly adjusted during an alignment.  An alignment refers to the angle of the tires on the axle and makes sure all your wheels are traveling in unison in the same direction to maximize the contact with the road.   Under normal driving conditions, you should get your alignment checked once a year to insure that your tire is set at the proper camber, caster and toe.

Improper camber causes tire wear on either the inside or outside of the tire and can cause suspension problems,  but when calibrated properly, helps your vehicle handle better. 

Unequal Caster can cause a pull to one side, instability at higher speeds and hard steering.  

If your car is “toed in” or toe out”,  it’ll wear your tires on either the inner or outer edges and the suspension.

                  Do I really need to check my tire’s air pressure?

The air in your tires is measured by pounds and being under or over the tire manufacturers recommendation by even a couple pounds  can make a significant difference in performance and control and could cause your TPMS dashboard warning light to illuminate.

When the weather changes from fall to winter tires tend to lose air as air contracts when it’s cold. You should check your air pressure at least once a month. This is by far the easiest, cheapest and most important tire maintenance. Stop in at Craftsman Auto Care anytime and we’ll check it for free!

Is there anything I need to know about my spare tire?

Many cars don’t even have a spare these days and are actually considered an “extra”.  Due to  ergonomics and weight, some manufacturers have opted to not include a spare in the trunk.  Make sure you know if you have a spare and have a roadside tire emergency plan!

What are run flat tires?

This is a new tire technology that allows the driver to drive at low speed on tires that have lost some or all of their air for a short time period- enough time to drive straight to a shop for any needed repairs! The sidewalls of these tires are specially formulated to support the weight of the vehicle without the cushion that air in the tire normally provides.  As with all tires, they can still be affected by a total “blowout” where the sidewall incurs a devastating puncture that immediately destroys the integrity of the tire and must not be driven.  When deciding on whether to purchase run flat tires, keep in mind that they generally cost more, won’t last as long, might be hard to find replacements and may give you a stiffer, harder ride. 

What are the signs of wear that I need to watch for?

When you’re refueling and standing by the pump, this is the perfect opportunity to walk around your vehicle and check all the tires.  Look at the tread depth to ensure it’s even from the inside to outside of the tire and insert a penny in the tread to make sure Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread

The tread wear indicators will also give you a quick visual to ensure your tires have adequate tread and meet any state safety regulations.  Ensure there is no dry rot or bulges on the sidewalls.  In regards to drivability, if you notice any pulling, noise or vibrations, you should have a technician inspect them.

Can I save money by purchasing a used tire?

Never cut corners by installing used tires.  The integrity of these are compromised and isn’t worth putting your safety and other driver’s safety at risk.  They most likely will not last as long and can cause alignment issues that could cause premature wear.  Used tires are more likely to be older and may be “expired” anyway.  Don’t bother- it’s not worth your time and money!

So what is the average cost of a tire.

Prices are going to vary depending on how and where you drive you car and what type of tires are recommended for your vehicle.  Most recommendations can be placed in three categories:   good (budget pricing and for light use), better (good for all purpose driving and normal conditions and steady driving), best (severe driving with extreme driving conditions including stop-and-go traffic, higher speeds, and high mileage)  and can range from $75 to $500 a tire.  Usually, spending just a few dollars more will greatly increase the longevity and performance of your tires. 

When comparing prices, make sure you consider whether mounting, rotation, tire stems and any tire protection policies are included.

So what do I get with the pricier tires? Are they safer?

You don’t have to buy the most expensive tires to get great tires.  Craftsman Auto Care offers a full range of choices, with all sorts of quality options. We don’t recommend the least expensive tires because for just a few more dollars you can get a massive increase in quality, traction, ride comfort and tire wear. But you don’t have to break the bank either!

Is purchasing tire protection really necessary?

It makes sense to protect your tire investment.  For only about $15 a tire or 10% of the price of a tire, you’ll receive lifetime balancing, rotation and flat repairs.  It will pay for itself with only one balance service.  For the first 12 months/12K miles, your tire is covered with a free replacement.  After that, it’s prorated during the life of the tire.   If you get a repairable nail puncture, this can quickly and be repaired free of charge. 


Auto Care
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