Monday, July 14, 2008

Check Your Tires with a Quarter

Here is a great article I found from Tire Rack:

"Quarters are safer than pennies when it comes to checking your tires, according to new tests conducted by Tire Rack, the country's largest independent tire tester. With much of the summer travel season remaining and a change of season looming, now is especially important for drivers to be aware of their tires' condition.

For decades the tire industry has taught drivers to use the so-called Penny Test as a simple way to tell when tires were worn out. But experts at Tire Rack say that popular lesson is outdated, compromises safety, and should give way to the Quarter Test.

In the old Penny Test, seeing the top of Lincoln's head while holding a penny upside down in a tire tread groove indicated a tread depth of 2/32-inch (1.6mm) or less, and that the tire needed replacing. Instructions on how to properly check tire tread depth can be found at

In driving tests a late-model pickup truck riding on tires that passed the Penny Test - legal in most states - averaged 499.5 feet to stop from 70 miles per hour on wet pavement. That's equal to about 12.5 school busses, or nearly a tenth of a mile.

However, the same vehicle riding on tires that passed Tire Rack's proposed Quarter Test stopped almost 122 feet (24%) shorter. These tires had treads measuring 4/32-inch (3.2mm) deep, as measured from the edge of a quarter to the top of Washington's head. Not only were braking distances significantly reduced, overall grip noticeably improved. Dramatic footage comparing Penny- and Quarter-Tested tires is available online at

"The Penny Test was an indirect result of tire warranties," explained John Rastetter, director of tire information at Tire Rack. "It is to that depth (2/32") that most warranties remain valid, encouraging drivers to drive longer on tires that don't provide enough wet-weather traction." Tire Rack tests showed that doubling the tread depth at which warranties are voided will improve safety by cutting braking distances and improving traction in the wet. "We know these changes won't happen overnight so we're encouraging drivers to pay more attention to their tires now," he said.

Wet/Snowy roads + Worn tires = A real problem

In 2005 584,000 car crashes occurred in the rain, causing 169,000 injuries and 2,914 fatalities, according to the most current data from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another 264,000 crashes occurred in snow and sleet, accounting for another 53,773 injuries and deaths.

Rastetter and his team feel many of these incidents were likely related to worn tires since NHTSA data also show some 20 million vehicles have at least one bald tire. In addition, less than one in three (31%) drivers doesn't know how to tell if their tires are bald, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, a tire industry trade group. A bald tire is one with less than 2/32-inch of tread depth.

Tire companies spend millions of dollars developing tread patterns that channel water away from under a rolling tire. This channeling allows the tire to stay in contact with road surfaces, especially at highway speeds.

As tires wear, their ability to displace water and grip snow is diminished, increasing the chance of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when tires are forced up off the pavement by water trapped under the tire. The result is a complete loss of traction that leaves drivers helpless to control their vehicles. By the time a tire is near the end of its service life it can displace a tiny fraction of the water, and grip little of the snow, it could when new.

"Riding on worn or bald tires in rain and snow is like trying to ice skate in dress shoes," said Rastetter, "you're going to lose control.""

Remember if you need new tires, consider buying them and having Wheel Refinishers install them. This is a money saving option!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Those pesky German car wheels.

Most modern wheels, in particular high-performance aluminum wheels on German vehicles, are painted with the same type of paint and clearcoat used on the body of the vehicle. While durable, the wheel's clearcoat finish is subject to damage from acid compounds, including acid rain, hydrocarbons and acidic cleaners. Likewise, polished and anodized aluminum wheels, not typically protected by a clearcoat, will react (dull or corrode) to both alkaline and acidic conditions.

To properly clean wheels, the car care industry has developed two groups of wheel cleaners: acid and acid-free.

Acid-based wheel cleaners are widely used by detailers and car washes, who need to clean wheels in a hurry. Acid-based cleaners are typically 2% solutions of oxalic, phosphoric and hydrochloric acid. An acid cleaner has no place on any aluminum or fine after-market wheel.

Acid-free wheel cleaners are mild solutions of alkaline solvent, usually ethylene glycol, with a wetting agent. These solutions creep under dirt and brake dust to loosen and lift. Non-acidic cleaners usually require some surface agitation, but are safer to use and will not etch the wheel's finish. Visit our site here to put in a request for wheel repair or call us today to take care of that built up damage and get you on a regular schedule for normal cleaning.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clean ‘em when they’re dry.

Most wheel cleaners work best on a dry wheel. Spray the cleaner on the wheel and work evenly into all areas of the wheel with a soft cloth, soft sponge or wash mitt. Try to smooth out any drips or runs so there is an even coating of cleaner over the entire wheel. Allow the wheel cleaner some time to work (3-5 minutes) and gently scrub the wheel with your cloth/sponge/mitt. Some areas of a dirty wheel may require gentle brushing with a soft brush to dislodge the dirt. If areas need additional cleaning, respray with wheel cleaner and gently brush. I repeat the warning, the keywords here "soft" and "gently". The finish on many wheels is acrylic enamel or a high temperature lacquer that is relatively soft and may scratch. Once the dirt/brake dust is loosened, rinse thoroughly with water and dry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wheel Refinishers announces award-winning wheel technology.

SmartWeight Balancer
Using SmartWeight® technology we can provide a tire assembly “road test” while mounted on the unit. This wheel balancing technology locates and eliminates virtually every cause of wheel vibration relating to the tire and rim. We’ll eliminate tire-related pull problems by balancing lateral forces on the front axle and SmartWeight® Balancing Technology.

Wheel Refinishers new balancer solves vibration and tire pull problems balancers and aligners can’t fix.

Going far beyond the traditional functions of a wheel balancer. We measure radial and lateral tire forces and provides instructions for solving ride and handling problems that other balancers and wheel aligners cannot fix.

TC3500 Tire Changer
-New Features Help Service Large Wheels that Others Can’t!

Wheel Refinishers new changer’s exclusive features operate in unison to easily and safely change the world’s toughest new performance tires and wheels. It is the professional’s “standard,” specified and field-proven by car and tire manufacturers, service shops and racing teams.

TC3500 Features
Polymer mount/demount head is a wearing component designed to protect tire and rim.

The floating 3-point Articulating Mounting Arm makes it happen.

Unlike conventional rim clamp mounting arms, there is no swing arm obstruction when servicing extremely wide wheels and tires. By removing the potential of steel-head-contact damage it rides closer than steel-head designs and reduces stress to beads on low-profile tires. No wheel is too big, no profile too low!

Visit to request wheel repair or refinishing services today!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


We at Mobile Wheel Refinishers are very thankful for having the opportunity to service our customers. Our ambition is to serve every customer beyond their needs. Thank you for allowing us to service your needs, and we look forward to our continued relationship in 2008. HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family. May all of your dents, bends and scratches become like new!

Dave and The Mobile Wheel Team

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watch Out for Winter Wheel Problems

Virtually all alloy wheels are painted with silver paint and/or clearcoated. Wheel-balancing weights that clip on scratch that paint, letting corrosive moisture and road salt get to the underlying aluminum. Ditto for any scratch marks — either made by a careless technician who pops off a tape-on weight with a casual flick of a screwdriver or from the occasional brush with road debris or curbs when parking.

Once pitting has gotten a good hold, you’ll need to protect them this winter and eventually have those wheels refinished. Never sandblast alloy wheels, or any other aluminum alloy component — the coarse surface left behind is great for holding paint, but represents millions of tiny stress risers. Those stress marks will degrade the strength of the wheel. Acceptable methods include glass-beading or blasting with crushed walnut shells, polymer media or baking soda, as well as chemical paint remover. Any corrosion pits need to be sanded down, not just filled in with Bondo. Your best bet is always a professional like us.

The biggest tip to not take on further damage this winter is this: Severely corroded wheels can fail, so don’t neglect them. A generous layer of wax will help repel water and salt.

Visit to contact us for a pickup if your wheels need any fall or winter damage repaired.


Beware of automatic car washes. Some washes use acid cleaners either before or during the wash to remove dirt and grime. Others use stiff brushes for cleaning wheels and tires. Both of these processes could harm your wheel's finish. Ask the employees or manager of the car wash about their equipment and procedures before entering the wash.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Custom Designed Wheels - Now at Wheel Refinishers

Hi all -

I just wanted to let everyone know about an awesome new service that we just launched for all of you car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts. We recently invested some serious money into equipment and infrastructure to begin creating our own custom rim designs. We have many sizes and specs available, so by all means, let us know if you have any thoughts on what you'd like to see....OR, just tell us you need some sweet new rims and we'll hook you up with a design that we feel suits your ride.

Read more about it here:


p.s. This service is now available at all locations, including Maryland and Michigan locations.