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]
Those of us who live in cold climates often need tires specifically for winter driving, which then need to come off the vehicle in the warmer months. Did you know there are requirements for storing winter tires? Here are some do’s and don’ts to prolong their life:
· If a vehicle is in storage for months on end, don’t leave the weight on the tires for lengthy periods. Either put the vehicle on jack stands or take it out and drive it once a week or so to flex the tires and disperse the inner chemicals and oil within the rubber compound.
· Avoid commercial “tire dressing” products. Tire compounds are designed to resist dry rot, ozone cracks or weather checks ...[more]Read More
Tire inflation is something that is neglected by many drivers, and it’s easy to understand why. Modern radial tires deform very little until they are drastically low on air pressure. A tire can be as much as 30% underinflated and still look completely normal. But why is proper inflation so important?
- Underinflated tires have increased rolling resistance, which can affect fuel economy.
- Increased rolling resistance will also lead to overheating, which can be downright dangerous and possibly cause tire failure on a long highway trip.
- Underinflated tires will affect your car’s steering, drivability, ride and handling. If your car’s steering seems heavy and clumsy, or if your vehicle is pulling to one side ...[more]
Lawn and garden tires, of course, are a different design altogether.
Think about what a riding mower does…it doesn’t ever go fast, it has to get good traction on grass, and it has to be gentle on the surface of the grass itself. Lawn and garden tires, then, are usually fairly wide to disperse the weight of the mower or tractor as much as possible. They also typically will use an inner tube and don’t have an especially robust construction since they don’t have to hold up at high speeds (believe it or not, there’s actually a designation in the tire speed rating system that applies to lawn and garden tires).
Lawn tires will usually have a turf tread pattern and balanced profile, for residential zero-turn mowers, golf carts, riding mowers, utility vehicles and the like, designed to baby the most delicate turf conditions. ...[more]Read More