Jeep Wrangler JK Wheel and Tire Diagnostic Guide

Chris

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The wheels and tires are your Jeep Wrangler's shoes. They are constantly being rotated and used as long as you're driving the car. There are many things that can go wrong with your wheels and tires, which can affect the way your Jeep feels. This guide will help you diagnose various issues for your wheels and tires, and it will show you what you will need to do to fix it. Next time you feel your Wrangler is driving differently, your tires are losing air, or something just doesn't sound right, you can always refer to this guide and solve your wheels and tires issues.

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Figure 1. Jeep Wrangler's wheel.

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Materials Needed
  • Flashlight
  • Tire monitor
Step 1 – Check tire pressure
It could be low.

The first thing you do if you feel your Jeep is pulling in one direction, or if you feel the tire looks strange, is to check the tire's PSI. You can find the appropriate tire pressure on the tire itself, but an easier place to find is in the driver's door jamb. There is a sticker that states the proper PSI for your tires. Use your tire pressure monitor to read your tire pressure, inflate or deflate as necessary to make it match your sticker.

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Figure 2. PSI sticker.

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Figure 3. Measure tire pressure.

If your pressure is proper, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 – Check the wheels
It could be bent.

A bent rim could cause air to leak out of your tire. So even though your tire might not have any holes in it, the rim could be the cause. You can bend a rim while you're parking by hitting the curb, or you can easily bend it while off-roading. Inspect your rim and make sure it goes around straight with no bends. The most common spot to bend a wheel is on the inside of the barrel. If you're suspecting a damaged wheel, it's best to pull the wheel off the Jeep and take a careful look at the inside.

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Figure 4. Bent rim.

If your rim is straight, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 – Check tires for uneven wear
Your tires could be wearing unevenly.

Tires could wear unevenly if your car is out of alignment or in need of re-balancing. It should be noted that when shock absorbers go bad, they can cause your alignment to go out of whack and cause "cupping" on the tires, which results in abnormal wear. Check the outside of the tire and compare it to the inside tread. If they don't match or if one side is worn faster than the other, be sure to balance your wheels and align your car. Uneven tire wear could also be caused by uneven tire pressure, so make sure all your wheels match in pressure.

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Figure 5. Uneven tire wear.

If your tires are worn equally, move on to Step 4.

Step 4 – Check tires for bulges
Your tire could be bulging from an impact.

If you enjoy off-roading, you will most likely experience a bulging tire. The tire could bulge if you hit a hard pothole or have any extreme impact. Most of the time, the bulge doesn't show up on the tire for weeks, so you damage the inside of the tire, then slowly it shows on the outside. To fix this issue, you will have to replace the tire.

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Figure 6. Tire bulging.
 
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