DRIVE Rotation of tires important

By Jim Mateja

Chicago Tribune

Q. I have a 2001 Lexus RX300 with 30,000 miles and a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban with 20,000. The tires haven't been rotated. Is it worth having them rotated now? Both have a full-size spare. Should the spare be rotated in with the other tires? -- R.P., Frankfort, Ill.

A. Shame on you. The cost of a rotation is far less than the cost of four new radials. It also provides an opportunity to check for irregular wear patterns that indicate other problems, such as feathering, which suggests the suspension needs to be checked.

But we contacted Goodyear Tire &; Rubber Co. spokesman Jim Davis, who said better late than never. Go ahead and rotate, but don't use the spares because there's no wear on them and lots of wear on the radials on the vehicles.


And, before a rotation, have your tires inspected for irregular wear patterns that may be so severe you'll experience noise, vibration and perhaps even ride and handling problems if rotated, said Davis, who noted Goodyear advises a rotation every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

Q. So, is the Cadillac XLR a great auto worth $76,000 or just overly complex technology out of control and destined for a place in automotive history alongside the Chevy Vega, Cadillac V-8-6-4 and Pontiac Aztek? -- R. L., Gurnee, Ill.

A. Time will tell, but have to say for now it's a very good car.

Only new technology in the Vega, which bowed more than 30 years ago, was an aluminum engine that warped and a body that rusted, problems seldom experienced with cars today. The V-8-6-4 of 20 years ago was a victim of computer sensors that were 20 years behind modern devices, and displacement-on-demand technology of today should atone for that. Aztek simply is a victim of ugliness, from which no automotive design department is immune.

Is the XLR worth $76,000? XLR is priced that high because 1) GM figures a limited-edition (5,000 units) car from its prestige division can justify it and 2) the XLR and next-generation Chevy Corvette for '05 are built off the same platform. To distinguish one as a Cadillac loaded with luxury and technology and the other as a Chevrolet loaded with performance and technology, you separate them by price, with the luxury car much higher than the sports car.

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