When you think of enhanced fuel economy, you probably think of the usual things…aerodynamics, engine size, rear end gear ratio, vehicle weight, driving style and speed, and your engine’s state of tune (clean air filter, good spark plugs, etc). Did you know, though, that your tires can have a huge bearing on gas mileage as well?
- Tire Size – The bigger, wider and heavier a tire is, the more rolling resistance it presents. Don’t believe me? Go for a ride on a skinny-tire racing bike, then go for a ride on a fat balloon-tire beach cruiser and see the difference. You shouldn’t go for a narrower tire than original equipment, as engineers tune suspensions and steering for a given tire size, but also remember that wider tires can cut into your fuel economy (even if th ...[more]
Does your driving style affect how your tires wear and hold up? You better believe it does.
If you put a lot of interstate miles on your car, that’s about the easiest thing you can do for the tires and your car’s drivetrain both. Tires and engines both love maintaining steady speeds for hours on end (provided the tires are at the correct inflation).
Here are some things that are likely to compromise your tires’ life, though:
- Frequently hauling heavy loads (especially for pickup truck tires)
- Frequently pulling a trailer
- Hard cornering
- Hard acceleration
- Taking potholes, railroad tracks and bumps at high speeds
It’s not surprising that heavy loads or trailer use would wear out tires prema ...[more]Read More
Soooo…it’s time to replace the tires on your late-model car. Maybe you weren’t that crazy about the original equipment (OE) tires, or you just want to try something different. Well, here are some things to consider.
The engineers and design teams that worked on your make and model of car selected a specific brand and model of tire for it. All of their formulations for ride comfort, handling, steering response, traction, noise and vibration isolation, roughness and overall performance used that specific tire as a benchmark (of course, the bid process for tires entered into it as well). A luxury car might have been designed around a grand touring tire with a quiet ride, an eco-friendly hybrid might use a low-rolling-resistance tire, ...[more]Read More
Rubber is a porous substance, and tires will inevitably lose some air over time due to seepage. Tire pressure is something that’s neglected by many drivers, as an “out of sight – out of mind” sort of condition. Low tire pressure, however, costs money in terms of increased rolling resistance and poorer gas mileage. Tires that are habitually run low on air also wear out prematurely, due to heat buildup and an uneven wear pattern.
The good news is that it’s an easy problem to fix.
For 100 years, tires have used the same valve design (known as a Schrade valve), identical to the valves on bicycle tires. They’re still the same design because the Schrade valve does its job well and there has never been a need to improve on it.
- Don’t rely on the ...[more]
You’ll notice that the stamp on your tire’s sidewall specifies inflation for HOT tires. Why is that?
Pretty simple physics, really. Gases expand with heat, meaning both the temperature of a friction-heated tire and ambient temperature of outside air. A rule of thumb is that for about for about every ten degrees Fahrenheit change in air temperature, your tire’s inflation will fluctuate by about one PSI. In most parts of the United States, the difference between winter and summer temperatures can be as much as a 50-degree spread, meaning a potential fluctuation of five PSI. That’s not even thinking about the 20-degree spread between hot afternoon temperatures and cooler nighttime or early morning temperatures in summer.
Tires that are low by 5 psi will hurt traction, steering re ...[more]Read More
Tire warranties and treadlife ratings are a popular marketing tool for tire manufacturers, and as tire technology and engineering has improved, 100,000 mile warranties are not uncommon. Of course, they do come with certain strings attached, considering the variety of weather conditions, usage and road conditions that tires might see – that’s why they’re always referred to as a “limited warranty.” Here’s a quick breakdown of some common conditions of tire warranties, and how they are calculated:
- Treadlife and mileage warranties are only applicable to the original owner and original vehicle, meaning it’s crucial to retain the paperwork that certifies proof of purchase and original installation date and vehicle mileage. You may also be required to prove that tir ...[more]
We all have a toolbox in the garage or inside the house, but what about in the trunk of the car? What if you're on the road and you get a flat tire? Do you have everything you need to take care of it from the road?
It's even more important to keep some tools in the car when you're traveling a long distance because you never know what could happen along the way. Check out our list of essential tire tools to have with you at all times and you'll have a little more piece of mind every time you travel. All of these tools can be stored in the trunk or spare tire area of your vehicle.
If you need to remove nails and other foreign objects from a tire, pliers are your best friend. They also come in handy for grabbing small objects in a pinch. ...[more]Read More
Tread depth is crucial to your safety! Once the tires on your car get below a certain minimum tread depth, your steering, handling and traction are compromised seriously enough that your car is considered unsafe to drive. Most states cite 2/32” as a minimum tread depth, but the truth is that your traction in wet weather or snow can be treacherous long before the tread makes it to 2/32”.
Most tire brands have “wear bars” embedded in the tread grooves, at a right angle to the tread. Once the wear bars start to show through, it’s definitely time to replace the tires.
The oldest rule-of-thumb test is the “Lincoln head penny” test – insert a penny into the tread, with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If the tread doesn’t come to the top ...[more]Read More
Tires are something that many drivers take for granted…but they shouldn’t. Tires are as big a part of your car’s overall safety as anything else. These are all things to keep in mind when it comes to tire safety:
- Proper inflation – Underinflated tires will cost you money in premature tread wear and increased rolling resistance (which means a hit on your gas mileage). Worse than that, though, underinflated tires will compromise your vehicle’s handling and steering, and can dangerously overheat on hot days or long trips. Modern radial tires won’t begin to show signs of deforming until they are at least 30% low on pressure, so just eyeballing a tire won’t tell you if it’s underinflated. Rubber is porous and even brand-new tires lose air, so make a poi ...[more]
You may be wondering when you should get new tires…they are a big investment and you don’t want to jump the gun, right? You also don’t want to push your luck with tires that are worn-out and running on borrowed time. Here are some tips:
- Run your hands along the surface of the tires. Feel for any irregularities like unevenly-worn spots or a rippled edge to the tread (also called “feathering”). These are indicators of suspension or steering issues that can contribute to tire wear, or an indicator of tires that haven’t been rotated frequently enough. Feel for any tread separation or possible bulges or cracks in the tread surface. If you detect problems like that, the tire is in imminent danger of failure and needs to be replaced right awa ...[more]