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
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]
If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer better ride, road manners and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.
Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side ...[more]Read 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
Snow Tires VS Studded Tires
Remember studded tires? Tires with noisy metal studs driven into the tread? They’re pretty hard to beat for traction in really extreme winter conditions. If your area regularly gets ice and heavy snow, if you live on a hill or out in the country where roads are seldom plowed, or if you have no choice but to put in a lot of miles in winter driving conditions, studded tires (or “studdable”) may be the thing you’re looking for. Remember, though, that studded tires aren’t legal in some states, so do your homework before making that decision.
But let’s talk about “snow tires,” or winter tires. They’ve come a long way in the last few decades…the old truck-style snow tir ...[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]
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]
Driving a car is a calculated risk. Your car can be dependable and well-maintained with great tires and mechanicals, you can be safety-minded and have your head in the game, but you are still in control of a couple of tons of plastic, steel, rubber and glass traveling at about 80 feet per second. Chances are nothing is going to happen, and obviously you hope it won’t – most people put in their entire years behind the wheel without a serious incident. But if something does happen, you should be ready to handle an emergency. We’re not even talking about something catastrophic like a collision…it could just be a dead battery, a minor mechanical problem or a failed tire. Better to have your car safety supplies and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
- Jump Starters – Nothing’s more disheartening than getting behind the wheel, turning the key and hearing the engine turn too slowly to start (or worse yet, the dreade ...[more]