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Why all-season tires might not be the best option for your vehicle

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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 learn why a vehicle’s brakes might vibrate and whether all-season tires are the best option.

Dear Ask a Mechanic:

I’ve noticed my brakes have been making a vibrating sound. It started happening a couple of weeks ago and I don’t know what’s causing it as I always drive carefully. What could be the reason behind this? – Braking blunder

Zafar Habib, co-owner of Humble Autohaus in Scarborough, said the main culprit when it comes to vibration is pulsation. This can be caused a few things, such as corrosion, excess heat or constantly and repeatedly slamming on the brakes. In the latter, if the brake rotors go out position, or their surface becomes uneven, it will pulsate. Rotors are circular disks that connect to each wheel of the vehicle and help it slow down when you press on the brakes. There are two solutions: resurface the brake rotors or replace them. To be resurfaced, the rotor needs to be put on a brake lathe and machined, Habib said. He suggested purchasing new rotors instead, since, in most cases, they are cheap to replace. If your vehicle’s parts are harder to come by, then he suggests getting them resurfaced.

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Dear Ask a Mechanic:

The cold weather has passed and it’s time for me to change my tires. I’ve been thinking about purchasing new tires, but I don’t know if I should purchase a set of all-season tires or if I should get two separate sets, one for the colder season and one for the warmer? – Tire shopper

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Habib said he believes in having two different sets of tires because they last longer. Using the same set of all-season tires all year will wear them down faster because the tires are being used more. Having two seats of tires allows the wear to be shared throughout the year and for the best tire to be used for each season’s conditions. Tires should also be rotated about every 10,000 kilometers. This means the tires on the back and front of the vehicle need to have their positions switched to make sure the wear of the tires is even. Uneven wear could make it easier to lose control of the vehicle, creating a dangerous driving situation.

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“The beauty to having two sets of tires (is that) every time you change them for the season, you’re rotating them 99 per cent of the time,” Habib said. If you’re trying to save money, Habib suggested exploring rebates for new winter tires and checking with your insurance company to see if they offer discounts.

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 . These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.



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