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Having one of your tires lose contact with the road is both frightening and dangerous. There’s a reason that cars have four wheels, and when you’re down to only three, the car can feel out of control and hard to maneuver. Losing contact with the road usually happens during adverse weather conditions. For example, water on the road can cause your car to hydroplane.
Your vehicle is equipped with a traction control system to help you drive safely during rainy or icy weather. The traction control system determines when one of your wheels is not making contact with the road. Rather than continuing to send power to that useless wheel, the traction control system disperses power to your other three wheels, so that you can maintain maximum control of your car.
When it feels like your tires are losing contact with the road, it is usually the traction control system. Sometimes, however, it’s a problem with the tires. These are the most common culprits of a tire losing contact with the road:
Dirty or damaged wheel speed sensors: Your traction control system relies on information from the wheel speed sensors. The wheel speed sensors are small sensors that exist in each wheel, and track how quickly the wheel is spinning. Your anti-lock brake and speedometer systems rely on these sensors, and so does the traction control system. When the wheel speed sensors note that one wheel is performing differently than the other three – which occurs when a wheel loses contact with the road – then it sends information to the traction control system to send more power to the other wheels.
Malfunctioning engine control unit: The engine control unit is your car’s computer. Among its many other responsibilities, it takes information from the speed wheel sensors, and uses it to control the power dispersal to the wheel. Without a functioning engine control unit, your traction control system has no command or power.
Underinflated tires: When your tires don’t have enough air pressure in them, they are more susceptible to lose contact with the road. Low air pressure makes it difficult for cars to have good traction, and therefore easier to hydroplane.
Tires have poor treading: Tires that have lost most of their treading have the same problem as underinflated tires. They have a hard time maintaining traction, and as a result, they can lose contact with the road.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the cause of the tire losing contact with the road, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
When you schedule an inspection because a tire is losing contact with the road, a mechanic will thoroughly inspect your tires and your traction control system. If the problem is worn tires, or a faulty traction control system, then the components will need to be replaced. If the tires are merely underinflated, then they can be inflated to the proper air pressure.
Driving with a tire that isn’t making contact with the road is not only scary, but dangerous. Your car relies on having even power distribution to all four wheels, and eliminating one wheel’s contact with the road immediately puts you and your car in a hazardous situation.