Q: When I had my car serviced which included tire rotation, the air pressure light comes on a lot and the car does not ride as smooth

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I am wondering if the lug nuts are tightened by hand with a wrench or if they are tightened with a power wrench and based on one or the other, does it effect the smoothness of the ride? There is a slight shimmy of the steering wheel at times also. When tires are rotated does this include balancing them before they are put back on the car? Thanks. Debbie Borkman

My car has 92000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

How lug nuts are tightened can vary shop to shop.The proper way to tighten them it to properly torque them to manufacturer’s specifications. Some shops may use an impact gun to tighten them, then use a torque wrench by hand to properly torque them. Other shops may use what is referred to as "torque sticks" along with an impact gun. These are basically a extended socket with various lengths and thicknesses. The length and thickness dictates the torque that will be applied to the leg nuts with the impact gun. In rare instances, over-tightening the lug nuts can distort brake rotors, causing a shimmy when brakes are applied. That you have a slight shimmy while driving may indicate that the tires were either not balanced properly, or not balanced at all. Generally, if the service is indicated as "rotate tires", then odds are they were simply rotated and not balanced. If the service is indicated as "rotate and balance", then they should have been balanced properly.

As for the TPMS light, make sure all the tires are properly inflated. That goes for the spare also as depending on how each model is equipped, the spare may have a pressure sensor as well. The spare tire will lose pressure simply form lack of use. If the spare has less pressure than the 4 wheels on the ground, this can cause the TPMS light to come on. Also, the system may have to be reset when the tires are rotated and the shop simply forgot to do so. Depending on model, the reset button should be located under the dash just above the gas pedal. While it may be an inconvenience, you may want to return to the service facility and ask them to check the pressure in all 5 tires and reset the system and check the wheel balancing if it was not performed with the service.

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