Ask the Mechanic: A DIY tire repair may not be the best option
In today’s column, we speak to a tire expert about whether all-weather tires are a good option for someone who only drives in the city, and what you can do if your tire develops a hole.
Every week, we take your questions about what is going on under the hood of your vehicle and pose them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column, we speak to a tire expert about whether all-weather tires are a good option for someone who only drives in the city, and what you can do if your tire develops a hole.
Dear Ask a Mechanic,
I’ll be purchasing a new RAV4 all-wheel drive vehicle this summer and I’m considering having the dealer replace the original all-season tires with an all-weather set, bearing the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol, designed to be used year-round (for example, Michelin’s Cross Climate SUV tires). I only travel in Toronto and within the GTA during the winter. The advantages for me of using this type of tire is not having to purchase, store and also change separate summer and winter tires. Do you have an opinion about these snowflake-rated tires? – Crossover dilemma
Daniel Uliasky, owner of Tire Change in Vaughan, said going with all-weather tires is not a bad idea if drivers want to save money on the costs associated with buying two sets and going to a mechanic to have their tires changed twice a years. Tires that include the snowflake symbol have been tested to meet or exceed industry snow-traction standards. Despite this, Uliasky said the grip of these tires may not be the same during intense snow or ice storms. “They’re good for the winter but they’re not as good as a winter tire,” he said.
Uliasky explained the thread on all-weather tires is shaped differently and is shallower compared to winter tires because they are used throughout the year. He recommended that if a driver is only using their vehicle once in a while during the winter, all-weather tires should be fine. But for those who must drive every day, and may encounter heavy snow or icy conditions, stick with winter tires.
Dear Ask a Mechanic,
Recently I noticed the tire-pressure warning on my dashboard lighting up on a very frequent basis. I previously would go weeks without seeing the notification, now it’s only lasting days. After examining all my tires, I narrowed the issue down to one. The front driver’s side tire has something stuck in it, and I believe it’s the cause of my air loss. I want to have this repaired. Is this something I can do myself? – Loosing air
Uliasky said this is something that can be fixed as a do-it-yourself project. The tire just has to be plugged. A tire repair kit can be purchased from stores that offer automotive products, like Walmart or Canadian Tire. But, he said, it’s best to get the tire looked at by a professional. They can determine if the hole is in a location the owner can safely address themselves or if the garage should repair it with patch on the inside of the tire. A patch on the interior of the wheel is a more permanent solution as a plug can, depending on the situation, fall out causing the leak to return.
Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a reporter at The Pointer who grew up in a house full of mechanics in Scarborough, and occasionally poses your questions to her dad or brother. You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.