Q: I have a 2008 Chevy Tahoe in AWD with 80,000 miles. Getting ready to put new tires on it; should I have the alignment checked? There are no indications of poor alignment, e.g. wear is uniform and the vehicle steers straight. Is it worth the extra expense to have it checked out?
K.D., Naperville, Ill.
A: When you plunk down major money for new tires, the cost of a wheel alignment is small by comparison. Yes, it is a good idea, but make sure they do a four-wheel alignment just in case there is an issue with the thrust line of the vehicle. More than likely, your vehicle will be fine, but a few adjustments to the steering and suspension now could pay off in better tire wear.
Q: I have a 2016 Ford F-350. I ran over a piece of metal and had to get a new tire. I have a "low tire pressure" message when starting the truck. I have tried to get rid of the message short of the lengthy process described in the owner's manual. Is there a shortcut that will reset the sensor?
P.P., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: Your tire dealer should have reset the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) as part of the job. In fact, it is illegal for a tire dealer to release a vehicle with a defective TPMS sensor. Go back to the shop from which you bought the tire and ask it to do the reset.
Q: My van is making engine noise. At first I noticed it when the A/C ran and now when the heater is on. It is not a loud noise, and it starts about 5 minutes after either one is on. It sounds just a little different, a little louder than normal. Yesterday, when the car was idling for about 10 minutes the same noise started. When driving without the A/C or heater on it is fine. It does not seem to come from the engine. Any ideas?
B.H., Brookfield, Ill.
A: It is very likely the blower motor or the squirrel cage (fan). As the motor bearings fail, they start with a low rumble or growl and eventually begin screaming for replacement. Better have it fixed before winter as you will be using the heater and defroster a lot.
Q: My 2015 VW GTI tires are 225/40-R18. When I replace them I would like to get a tire with a bigger sidewall at maybe 50 or more. I asked my service adviser about my plan and he said it wouldn't work because the increase would confuse the computer and cause damage to the transmission. Your thoughts?
G.G., Orland Park, Ill.
A: If you simply switch to taller tires — having a higher aspect ratio — the service adviser is right. However, if you match those tires with the proper wheels, you should have no problem. Visit your favorite tire dealer, where the staff will have the proper conversion data. Or, go to tirerack.com
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician.