Under Pressure in Chesapeake: TPMS

Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat fixed in Chesapeake or your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely under inflated.

Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause detrimental and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on Virginia roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, Chesapeake drivers who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.

Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires has made it harder for Chesapeake car owners to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn’t look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their vans are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.

So, like seatbelts, the critical TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it’s being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and pick-ups. Besides warning Chesapeake car owners when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.

This increased safety won’t come without increased costs to Chesapeake car owners. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. Chesapeake service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other critical equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. West Service Center, Inc. service professionals have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to Chesapeake drivers.

Further, whenever a tire is changed, the West Service Center, Inc. tech will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to Chesapeake auto owners.

Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle’s battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.

The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.

So, if you’ve noticed an increase in the cost for car care at your Chesapeake tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you’re paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.

Of course, no warning system will save lives in Chesapeake if car owners don’t pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn’t come on until the tire is severely under inflated – you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. Chesapeake auto owners can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.

The West Service Center, Inc. Guide To Custom Wheels

If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your van, there are a few things you should know first.

Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Chesapeake motorists have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don’t fit right and the tires rub against the van when they turn or go over a bump.

To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your West Service Center, Inc. tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your van. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you’ll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.

But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you’re willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable Chesapeake professional’s help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Chesapeake custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.

The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your van are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason drivers should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Chesapeake. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.

Your car’s computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your van, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in costly damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.

If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine’s computer reprogrammed at West Service Center, Inc. to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn’t just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want, and meet your handling needs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake.

After all, good car care isn’t just about preventive maintenance. It’s also about making good choices.

West Service Center, Inc. Advice On Buying New Tires

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Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Chesapeake driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Virginia seasons.

Chesapeake off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Chesapeake? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

West Service Center, Inc. tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Chesapeake auto owners shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at Virginia tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some critical adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the van. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your van with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your van on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Chesapeake a lot longer.

Shake It Up in Chesapeake!: Why Wheel Balancing

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Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Chesapeake drivers generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Chesapeake motorists want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your honest West Service Center, Inc. service specialist spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Chesapeake car owners are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Chesapeake motorists can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your van — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the interstate, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the detrimental vibration. When Chesapeake motorists’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your van as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your gas mileage. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at West Service Center, Inc., you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Chesapeake vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your van. Balancing your tires is part of vital preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some costly ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from West Service Center, Inc.. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Chesapeake motorists’ nerves.

Tire Tread Depth for Chesapeake, Virginia Drivers




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at West Service Center, Inc.; (just call 757-487-4420) to find out what your requirements are in the Chesapeake, Virginia area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give Chesapeake auto owners enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the important issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Chesapeake drivers also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Chesapeake Virginia, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Chesapeake over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a harmful condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Chesapeake motorists will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Chesapeake drivers follow that far behind the van ahead? Obviously, this is a key safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do Chesapeake auto owners know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most car owners in Chesapeake, Virginia want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake.

West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420

Buying the Right Tires and Wheels In Chesapeake Virginia

Everyone in Chesapeake Virginia eventually replaces their tires, whether it’s because they’re worn out or they’re just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Chesapeake Virginia, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let’s group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.

One category is often referred to as “summer tires”. Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in Chesapeake Virginia and they’re also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.

Chesapeake Selecting Tires and Wheels Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in Chesapeake Virginia. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.

So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you’ll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.

Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your Chesapeake Virginia tire professional at West Service Center, Inc. can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.

As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.

The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.

There’s a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.

For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Chesapeake Virginia roads.

Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.

West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420

Outside of these three main categories, some people in Chesapeake with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.

You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That’s a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.

The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.

And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you’ll want so help to make sure they’ll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.

Wheel Balancing at West Service Center, Inc.

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Chesapeake auto owners can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on Virginia interstates. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at West Service Center, Inc., it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the service advisor will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most Chesapeake auto owners are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Chesapeake hold their balance pretty well for drivers. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and harmful tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some pricey repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better gas mileage.

Some Chesapeake auto owners have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your honest West Service Center, Inc. service specialist. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

Chesapeake Tire Repair

Most Chesapeake car owners have experienced a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue – it also has a financial impact. With high gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to get the best possible fuel efficiency. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.

There’s another danger to under-inflated tires. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid serious tire damage.

Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around Chesapeake. Punctures, cuts and unfortunate encounters with curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that an automotive analysis would reveal. Try to remember to check your tires when you’re pumping fuel. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.

Now tire damage can be on the inside where you can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that is too extreme to be repaired. You may see our West Service Center, Inc. tire professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we’re just following best practices.

Of course, some tires just can’t be repaired. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection.

Chesapeake auto owners should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs – we have a whole team of them at West Service Center, Inc.. Chesapeake folks can buy self repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.

Here are some other considerations: A DIY flat repair may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your honest West Service Center, Inc. tire specialist will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.

West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd, Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420

Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money On Tires

Chesapeake motorists want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your service advisor at West Service Center, Inc. puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a van wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Chesapeake to Suffolk, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Chesapeake folks’ tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more critical with them. Give West Service Center, Inc. a call to get our recommendation for your van.

See your owner’s manual or ask your service professional at West Service Center, Inc. for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires are costly and they are one of the most critical safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420

Getting New Tires In Chesapeake?

best tire shops in Chesapeake

There are so many tire choices in the Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Chesapeake car owners. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your van, they’re a significant investment for most Chesapeake folks so you want do it right.

Tip: talk with your honest West Service Center, Inc. tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.

Here are some of the issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is critical. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Chesapeake tire professional can help stay within auto manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your van’s computer.

And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Chesapeake to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter, all-season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Chesapeake auto owner’s needs.

Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from West Service Center, Inc. will last a long time and give Chesapeake drivers good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Chesapeake bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your honest West Service Center, Inc. tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle you should always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for van brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.

Schedule a tire inspection at West Service Center, Inc. to see how much life is left in your van tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.

Give us a call

West Service Center, Inc.
757-487-4420
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323