Tires are made to do one thing--grip the road. Are yours up to the task?
Tires warrant mention as a safety feature, seeing as they’re the only part of the vehicle actually touching the road.
There’s no shortage of tires and tread patterns to choose from. For best results, find a product that complements your driving styles. Weather is another major consideration.
Drivers who live in frigid regions may opt for “Winter Tires” designed to grip on snowy roads with rubber that remains somewhat pliable in freezing temperatures.
“All-weather” tires offer a smooth ride with treads designed to wick water away. All weather tires have tread that tends to last longer than the soft rubber compounds found in winter tires.
Tire tread often shows “siping,” small slits that help improve traction and handling.
Vibration when you drive could be a sign that your tires are out of balance. Check with your trusted service advisor to assure your tires are properly balanced and installed. Basic tire care comes down to proper inflation, tread wear, routine rotation, regular alignments and proper driving habits.
Does your vehicle pull to the left or right? Could be time for an alignment. Proper wheel alignment can help extend the life of your tire and allow them to wear evening. Expert technicians use the latest equipment to meet manufacturer recommendations for precise wheel alignment.
Rotating tires ensures even tread wear and prolong tread life.
By regularly changing a tire to another position on the vehicle, any abnormal wear patterns that were starting to develop may be corrected.
But how often should you rotate your tires? Experts suggest every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or every other oil change.
If tires show uneven tread wear, check for and correct any imbalance, vehicle alignment issues or underinflation.
If your vehicle has a matching full-size spare tire, include that tire in the rotation. Technicians should always check and adjust the inflation pressure of the full size spare when incorporating it into the rotation pattern.
NOTE: Vehicle manufacturers generally recommend replacing all tires at the same time. Replacing all four tires at the same time makes rotation even more vital for maintaining uniform tread depth and optimum tread wear.
Are you getting fewer miles per gallon? Check your tires for underinflation.
The roads themselves pose hazards to tires as well.
Perhaps you hit a curb or ran over a rock. A bulge that appears on any part of the tire indicates permanent damage and could cause a blowout.
Road debris is a year-round concern, especially in areas hit by harsh winter storms. That’s typically magnified during summer with more vehicles on the highway and maintenance crews routinely at work.
Below are some questions to consider when tire shopping:
- Do you drive in the snow? Look for tires with tread design that provides good traction on snow and ice-covered roads.
- Do you drive in a mild climate? Consider a general “all-weather” tire designed for long tread life and comfortable riding.
- Want to save at the pump? Tire tread design influences fuel economy. For passenger vehicles, fuel-efficient tires can boost a vehicle's fuel economy by 5% or more.
- Do you have the need for speed? Drivers of high performance or sports cars should consider tires with race-inspired tread compounds and innovative tread designs, good enough to handle a day at the track.
No matter what type of tire you choose, make sure they are properly inflated. Tires inflated to manufacturer’s specifications perform better, wear evenly and help improve fuel efficiency.