FAQs—GMC K15/1500 Pickup
After replacing the front, passenger-side tire of my GMC K15/1500 Pickup, my friend mechanic told me that the wheel and tire assembly seems out of balance. Can I still drive my pickup without getting it balanced? What will happen if I pass up on wheel balancing?
Yes, you can still drive your pickup without balancing the wheels but since one of them is out of balance, expect something unusual with the way your ride handles and performs. You will also experience vibration as well as uneven and rapid tread wear, which means more frequent or premature tire replacement. This condition will also cause more stress on your GMC pickup's front-end components, resulting in premature wear. Off-balance wheels are also not good for the vehicle's suspension, steering, and bearings. To fix this, you can take your tire and wheel assembly to an automotive shop that has a balancer. This equipment will equalize the combined weight of the tire and wheel assembly to make it spin smoothly even at high speeds. The balancer determines where the weight should go by centering the wheel and spinning it.
I just bought a second-hand GMC K15/1500 Pickup and I intend to use it for hardcore off-roading. I'm aware of how harsh mud and dirty water can be on the truck's underbody, so can you please share some tips on how I can perform proper underbody cleaning to minimize chances of rust damage?
Do a thorough underbody cleaning at least once a month. It would be wise to raise your truck and put it on axle stands while cleaning. Take the wheel off and securely cover the brakes with plastic sheeting that's taped in place so it won't fall off due to water pressure when you hose the dirt off. Once the brakes are covered, hose off the dirt, with the nozzle set to the most powerful jet. Aim the hose on areas with accumulated mud and filth and under the wheel arch. Keep your hose aimed on the dirt until it falls off and the water runs clear. After washing, check the box sections; you can apply wax rust inhibitor when necessary. Also make it a point to check and fix your truck's underbody sealant; use the type that's recommended by your car's manufacturer.
Lately, I've been feeling some sort of steering wheel vibration especially at high speeds. It drives me nuts because I often take my GMC 1500 pickup off roads and I know that this unusual shaking of the steering wheel can be dangerous. What could be causing this, and how can it be solved?
This condition can be caused by many factors, including wheels that need balancing, worn-out shock absorbers or struts, bad upper strut bearings or ball joints, and damaged tie rod ends. Start your troubleshooting by checking your GMC pickup's wheel balance especially if you've just fitted new tires. If this is the cause of the vibration, it's easy to fix; you just need to find a mechanic with a wheel balancer and your wheels will be balanced again. If this isn't the culprit, then proceed to your suspension and find out if the shock absorbers and struts are still in good condition. If they are already worn-out, chances are good that they are the ones causing the steering wheel to shake. The ball joints are also possible vibration culprits. They are the ones that keep the suspension tight without limiting the movements of other components, so when they wear out, car vibration is definite.