Experts and analysts seem to be in agreement on this: the days of cheap oil are finished. As countries compete with each other for oil on a global market, the price of refined fuel and gasoline in the United States may fluctuate somewhat, but it’s likely to stay above $3/gallon for the foreseeable future. That means that every driver needs to be aware of what they need to do to optimize their gas mileage…and that includes tires.
You probably already know that proper inflation is vital to fuel economy, and that underinflated tires will not only drop your gas mileage, but will negatively affect handling and drivability. Underinflated tires are also unsafe, building heat that can compromise a tire’s service life and possibly cause tire failur ...[more]Read More
Rotating tires is one of the most important (and easiest) things you can do to prolong their service life. But why? Why is it so important?
It’s simple. Front and rear tires wear differently. Parallel parking, cornering, acceleration, three-point turns all put different stresses on the front and rear tires. Not rotating them means that they are going to show different wear patterns, which will affect their tread life and your car’s ride and handling.
Regular rotations mean that your tires will wear more evenly, and will improve your car’s drivability. Chances are you’ll notice a difference in ride and handling with every rotation. So how often should you rotate?
Every other oil change seems like a pretty good rule of thumb (in other words, every 7-10,000 miles). Doing rotations yourself in your ...[more]Read More
As a general rule, your tires should all have the same tread pattern, construction and size, meaning they should all be the same make, model and age. If they aren’t, you’ll compromise on your car’s control, traction, stability and ride. Mismatched tires could mean tires from different manufacturers, winter tires with all-season tires, run-flat tires with conventional tires or tires with different tread patterns.
Until you can invest in an entire set of tires of the same make and model, and if you’ve only got one mismatched tire in the set, you should put it on the rear. If the tire that had a problem was on the front, take one of your rears and put it on the front to replace it, then put the mismatch tire back on the rear axle. This will probably mean the least impact on handling ...[more]Read More
Before we start talking about which tires you need, you should determine whether it’s time to go ahead and get tires…
The minimum depth where tire tread is still effective is 2/32”. Anything lower than that and your tires will no longer resist hydroplaning in wet weather, dry traction is reduced and traction in snow is practically nonexistent. Tires now include “wear bars” at the base of the tread, running at a right angle to the tread; when the wear bars show through, the tires are at the end of their service life. The old-timer’s gauge is the “penny test,” where you put a penny, Lincoln’s head down, into the tread. If the top of the tread no longer touches Lincoln’s head, then it’s time (some now recommend the same test with a nickel or quarter).
Of course, when yo ...[more]Read More
Tires are something that most people just do not give a lot of thought to until something goes wrong and it’s time to replace them. The good news is, they don’t really need a lot of maintenance (certainly not as much as your car’s mechanical systems do), and it’s pretty easy to take care of them and get a long service life from them. Ther e are a few things, though, that you do need to keep in mind with your new tires.
- Watch your driving habits. Obviously, if you regularly mash the gas pedal hard enough to break traction and burn rubber, that will take a lot of life off your tires. Besides that, though, be careful about your braking and cornering habits, and go easy over potholes and railroad tracks; they will all take a toll on your tires.
- Check your ...[more]
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