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Cleaning out Tire Treads? Necessary?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by cyberpriusII, Apr 11, 2011.

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  1. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Active Member

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    O.K., my husband just shakes his head and walks away. And I am sure many of you will think of several dumb blonde jokes, but...

    Am I wasting my time cleaning all the little chunks of gravel out of the treads of the tires?

    I rotated my tires (myself!!) this weekend. Ran into a problem but got lots of help on another thread. But, I also spent about 15 minutes per REAR tire cleaning out pieces of gravel from the tread. For some reason, and don't know why, the rear tires collected all the gunk, the fronts had almost none:confused:

    Anyway, my reasoning is that it helps maintain traction and could prevent a flat. Am I wasting 20 -25 minutes (as well as gouging out hunks of skin with the tire iron) for nothing?
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I've always found lots of gravel in rear tire treads, little in front: figure it's due to front tread flexing more in acceleration and cornering.

    I like to slowly roll the tire along, with a small screw driver in hand, and pop out most all the rocks I see. It makes for a quieter ride, and, it's a good exercise, because once in a while you find the chunk is not a rock, it's a chunk of metal, or screw/bolt.

    I actually go further, wash the snow/summer tires that I'm taking off, inside and out, It's the one time you can really detail the area where the lug nuts normally are. Then I stack them uncovered for a week or two to completely dry, with open web mat underneath. When I've got spare time, I haul them into the family room and wax them, then return them to the stack in garage, and cover them.

    Use to use just a cheapy plastic bag for cover (one bag draped down over the stack of four), the kind you get from tire dealers, but finally broke down and got some nice opaque zippered bags from Princess Auto for about $9 (Canadian only I think). They have a drawstring at the bottom, works well, protecting the tires from UV and discouraging spiders.
  3. Hal W

    Hal W New Member

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    It at least makes them quiet for awhile or until they pack more into the treads.I do it all the time! I have a dirt driveway! Hal
  4. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I, too, always clean the stones, etc. out of the tire treads for the very reason that Mendel Leisk states. You never know when it may be a screw or nail that has punctured the tires.

    I am impressed that you rotate your own tires :)
  5. J5A

    J5A Active Member

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    Your front tires don't have rocks because they spin faster (FWD) and whip them out when you turn.








    Okay, not really, but since you made blonde comments.....

    Congrats changing/rotating your own tires btw.
    I need to learn how on the Prius becasue of the TMP's.
  6. vnhk

    vnhk New Member

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    Please tell me you did it becuase you wanted to. If yes, then your husband is a lucky guy.

    My lady would not even bother to check what is under the hood. She just gets in the car and drives.

    BTW, I also do "some" rock cleaning when I rotate the tires :)
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Congratulations, K! I'm really impressed.

    Further, if your car should have a flat tire it is clear that you will be able to take care of it yourself, should that be necessary - and not be a helpless female.

    I also remove bits of rock out of the tire tread when rotating tires. I don't think that removing the rock will maintain traction or prevent a flat. However the inspection required while removing the rock will allow you to find a small nail embedded in the tread which will cause a flat.

    Check your rear tire tread to see if it is deeper than the front tire tread. If yes, that would be one reason why more rock accumulates in the rear tires.

    My only question is why you apparently are injuring yourself while performing this process. That should not happen.

    I use a pair of small long-nose pliers to remove the rock.
  8. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    Some folks spend extra to get studded snow tires... others spend time removing free traction aids. (I kid)
  9. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Wow. Patrick is not easily impressed. You must be doing something right.
  10. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Active Member

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    O.K. Not fair, because I believed you!!! Rotating is easy (well...not really). Instructions are in the manual. Basically just front to back, back to front. Nothing more. I did not need to reset the Tire Warning Light.

    Not sure, who is right about more gravel in rear tread....Patrick put forth one idea and Mendel put forth a second idea....I DO know that the front of the car is "hella" more heavy than the rear. It about killed me to turn the jack handle when I did the front tires! Rear tire was much lighter.

    Injury-wise, it is really tiring to pry the rocks out of the tread. It takes a lot of strength and when I hold the tire iron it often slips. My wrists look like suicide by tire iron. Maybe I should go with Mendel's or Patrick's screwdriver/pliers?

    I won't get into why I do most of the work on the Prius. I've ranted about it before on these forums, some of you may remember -- two-week-old Prius, husband, wreck....

    Anyway, while some of the stuff I do is dirty, PAINFUL and always confusing :confused: ,,, I've come to enjoy it and get a special feeling when I finally get it done.

    And my DAD is proud of me....Kevin -- hubby -- just shakes his head.

    Kristi
  11. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, that is one big reason why I DIY as well. Another is that since I do "office work" for my living, the results of which are frequently intangible, it is nice to do something that provides immediate tangible feedback (whether good or bad) after you've done something.

    Glad to hear that your dad is supportive of your efforts.
  12. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I've noticed much more crud solidified to the inside of the rear wheel rims than of the fronts, but hadn't particularly noticed any difference in tread gravel content.


    Or a shard of glass too deeply embedded to fall out.


    I stick to gloves, an old large nail for prying, and eye protection. Make sure the nail gets back into the old hardware bucket, not left on the ground.

    Tire iron? Are you prying boulders out of a large tractor tire?
  13. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Active Member

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    I may have the terminology wrong. It's the black thing with the wrench side and the pointy side that Toyota provides.
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    You have the terminology right.

    That seems like serious overkill, and would aggravate my old RSIs (repetitive stress injuries).
  15. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Active Member

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    Patrick is a sweetie to EVERYONE. There are about a half-dozen guys on here I am seriously in "crush" with. One night, after a glass or two, too many wine, I think I asked Patrick to marry me....of course, I'm already married, and I am sure the same with Patrick.

    Like a true gentleman, he discreetly ignored my ramblings....:p
    2 people like this.
  16. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    The front tire stirs things up so the read sees more crud in the air than the front. That;s why there are more rear flat tires than front. The front flips a nail up, then the rear runs over it.

    I can't tie that to more pebbles in the reartread but suppose that the pebbles bouncing along the road after the front stirs them up are more likely to get stuck in the rear tread than a pebble lying flat on the ground.
  17. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    lolWTFlol
  18. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Agreed! Post of the week IMO. :)
  19. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Active Member

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    Ah, gosh, guys, now Patrick will NEVER, EVER, reply to any of my posts!!

    I officially now say I'm in lust with BOO!! :eek:
  20. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Girl, you're going to give these poor guys a heart attack. ;)
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