The Know It All Guide to Tire Checks: Air Pressure, Tread Depth, and more
Your vehicle’s tires are very crucial to its optimal performance and should never be overlooked. A good set of tires gives you a level of confidence in your car’s ability to safely take you from one place to another. Having bad or worn-out tires increase the risk of fatal faults and even accidents in extreme cases. Your tires are the only things keeping you connected to the road, and as such, they should always be at their best.
Keeping your tire treads from wearing down is also beneficial because you spend less on maintenance in the long run. By simply rotating your tires and performing scheduled alignments, you can significantly increase the lifespan of your car tires. Keeping your tires safe starts from buying the right ones for your car. Let’s take a look at expert tips on how to buy tires.
How To Buy The Right Tires
When buying tires, the following rules will guide you in making the right choice based on your car and usage needs.
Find Your Exact Tire Size
Although there are many tips and tricks to buying great tires, the essential information that will guide you is your tire size. Whether you’re shopping for tires online, submitting an order, or asking a professional for quotes, you have to provide your exact tire size.
Knowing your tire size is much easier than you might think. The specific tire size is a series of numbers, letters, and slashes. You can find it boldly printed on the side view of your tire’s sidewall. Also, you can find it written on the driver’s sides door jamb, inside the glove box door, within the hatch to your gas tank.
The series of numbers, letters, and slashes that make up the tire size tell you: what kind of car it’s used for, the exact rim diameter, speed rating, load index, and the width of the tire from one sidewall to the other.
Pick The Appropriate Driving Conditions
There are mainly three types of tires designed for seasonal driving: all-season tires, winter tires, and the less known all-weather tires.
Whichever weather’s tire you’re going for, you should always pick a tire that has high handling and braking ratings. You can additionally select a combination of other vital elements like ride comfort and noise reduction. Safety is the most crucial rule of thumb when making your ideal tire choices.
Get A Couple of Quotes
If you have a big box membership like Costco, you’ll want to start here. They usually give the best prices to members. You could also check with Canadian Tire, Walmart, and other big tire retailers for some decent in-store discounts. Some local stores also offer pretty sweet deals. Just be sure to ask for the full price per tire; the cost of the material, installation taxes, and the disposal of your old tires.
How to Do a Tire Safety Check
It is crucial to perform regular checks on your tires. Some things you should always look out for include:
- the age of the tire
- the depth of the tire tread
- the tire pressures
- cracks on the sidewalls and between tread blocks
- bulges and bumps caused by over-inflation
- the tread separation.
If you can fit the corner of a credit card in a crack, it is advisable to change that tire as soon as possible. Other crucial things you should pay attention to include:
Experts recommend that you should perform a tire rotation every 8,000km. The front wheels wear more quickly than the rear ones; therefore, rotations ensure that the tires wear evenly. You save money by having longer-lasting tires to drive with.
Wheel (tire) alignments are done to bring your suspension pieces into the right angles for safe and efficient operation. Consistently hitting nasty potholes will throw off your car’s alignment and lead to frequent adjustments.
You can quickly diagnose if your tires will need alignments by observing the following:
- Your steering wheel is off-center at an angle
- A pulsating or shaking sensation in the wheel
- The steering wheel pulls farther left or right when you drive
- Uneven tire wear across your wheels
Often confused with “alignment,” wheel (tire) balancing corrects weight displacement issues. Imbalances in the wheel are corrected with small weight adjustments in the wheel barrel. Your tire service provider will let you know if you need a weight adjustment.
Your tires need to be at the right air pressure to ensure optimal performance, safety, and fuel economy. Checking your tire pressure should be done as frequently as you can manage. The ideal tire pressure is the one recommended by your tire’s manufacturer.
Overinflating or underinflating your tires can cause uncomfortable rides, increased fuel consumption, and increased risk of tire damage.
How To Make Your Tires Last Longer
- Drive at the recommended speed limit and avoid potholes whenever you can. Squealing around corners and slamming on the brakes will wreak havoc on your tires.
- Clean your tires and keep them away from direct UV rays when not in use. Too much sun will dry out tires; making them more prone to cracking.
- Store your tires properly in the off-season so that they are still in right conditions for when they are needed. Wrap in an air-tight seal and keep them standing upright but not hanging off hooks.
How To Check The Depth of Your Tires Tread
Here in Canada, we check the depth of the tire’s tread with a Toonie. The image below shows the different levels that indicate the health of your tire treads.
Replacing Your Worn Tires
Although tire experts recommend that you replace all your tires at the same time, you might only be able to manage one or two done at a time. Make sure that the replacements match the specific recommendations for your car.
Tire professionals also suggest that you install the newer tires in the back, while the older ones go to the front.
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