Tires are simply the wearable and therefore replaceable part of the tire/wheel assembly. Although many different types of tire designs have been used since the dawn of the automobile, the radial tire has virtually replaced all other varieties. Radial tires, by far, deliver better safety and handling, fuel economy, steering, traction and cornering. The typical radial tire consists of a bead, a casing, belts, and tread. Today, nearly all tires have belts made from steel. Radial tires also last much longer than any previous tire design. Although driving habits and tire care play a key role in tire life, radial tires may last as long as 100,000 miles. Virtually all of today’s tires used on automobiles, and many used on light trucks, have a tubeless design. This means there is not a separate balloon-like tube inside the tire, as was the case with older tire designs.
Tires serve as the wearable part of the overall tire/wheel assembly, but they also play a large role in vehicle safety. Today’s tires must provide good traction under a wide range of driving and road conditions while providing long tread wear.
Check tire pressure frequently. Also inspect the tires for abnormal tread wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewall. Rotate and balance the tires on a regular basis. If your car has a flat, have the tire professionally repaired. Since most flats are caused by damage to the tire, such as a puncture, anything less than quality repairs can affect the integrity of the tire. The best way to repair a tire is to have it removed from the rim, the inside inspected and corrective measures taken. The quick plug, done from the outside, is no longer recommended by the tire industry. According to experts, the repair could fail, inviting a blowout. Install only the recommended size tires for your vehicle when replacing them. Installing the incorrect tires can result in contact with body panels or steering and suspension parts. The wrong tires can also affect speedometer readings and engine/transmission control. See the "today's deals" section of our web site for money saving coupons.
There are several simple ways to check tire tread depth. The first way is to measure tread depth with a tread depth gauge. The second method involves the use of a penny inserted into the grooves of the tread. Tire wear bars are also used on today’s tires as a hands-off visual indication that a tire needs replacement.
Regular tread depth checks are important to ensure that your vehicle’s tires are safe. Excessive wear can result in a loss of traction, especially on wet and slippery roads. Tires are regular wear items and staying on top of their condition not only ensures your safety, but also gives you the opportunity to plan ahead and budget for inevitable tire replacement.
When using a tread depth gauge, tires need to have at least 1/16-in. of tread or more (this is the minimum amount of tread allowed by law). By using a penny as a quick reference, insert the penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s face showing, but with his head upside-down. If you are able to see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire needs replacement. If you see a wear bar across the width of the tread while facing it, it’s time to replace the tire. Generally, it’s best to replace tires in sets of four. If your car’s tires show signs of abnormal or unequal wear, have this looked into by a professional technician. Excessive wear on both outer edges generally indicates under-inflation. Excessive wear in the center of the tread generally indicates over-inflation. Cupping or dipping of certain tread sections may indicate worn suspension parts or a wheel balance problem. Saw-toothed or feathered tread edges may indicate wheel misalignment. If your car needs alignment or suspension work, have it done before you drive off with a new set of tires. Taking a “big picture” approach to protecting your tire investment will reap many rewards for miles to come.
Proper tire inflation pressure is the specified air pressure given by a carmaker for a certain tire on a specific vehicle. This pressure specification should not be confused with a tire's maximum pressure, which is usually listed on the tire's sidewall. Some vehicles may specify different pressures for the front tires and the rear tires.
Correct inflation pressure is critical for good fuel economy, safety, maximum tire life, and proper vehicle handling performance.
For the small amount of time it takes, checking tire inflation at least once a month is one of the best investments you can make to get the maximum life out of your tires. Proper inflation can also improve gas mileage by more than 3%, when maintained regularly. Keep this in mind: Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi (pounds per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires. You may want to check your tires more often during the winter months. Tires will lose about 1 psi of pressure for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature drop. Keep an accurate tire pressure gauge in your vehicle’s glove box (many gauges at "air stations" give false pressure readings) and check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. Never trust the appearance of a tire as a gauge for inflation. A tire could be 10 psi low on pressure and not appear to be low on air. Use the recommended inflation pressure listed in your vehicle's owner's manual or on the inflation sticker found on the driver's door jamb. While you're at it, don't forget to check the spare. There's nothing more annoying than a flat spare when you have a flat tire.
Tire rotation refers to the regular practice of switching the position of each tire on the car.
Tire rotation helps to equalize tread wear and is critical to gain the maximum life from your tire investment.
Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended rotation interval and pattern; generally a rotation interval of 5,000 miles is recommended. The rotation pattern varies with different makes and models, which shows the tire locations during rotation. Some vehicles have different size tires on the front and back or directional tires. This limits the locations that a tire may take on the vehicle. When in doubt, check the owner’s manual or consult a professional technician at D and R Car Care and Lube Center for guidance. Tire rotation time also offers a good opportunity to have the tires and wheels balanced. It’s another step you can take to maximize your tire investment.
Wheel balance refers to the proper distribution of weight around a revolving tire and wheel assembly. Poor wheel balance can have a marked impact on both your vehicle and your safety.
Proper wheel balance ensures that the wheels, while spinning, do not have a heavy spot that can cause vibration and premature wear of tires, struts, shocks and other steering and suspension components. When combined with proper wheel alignment, balanced wheels ensure smooth and enjoyable driving.
The most common signs of unbalanced tires are vibration and noise problems. When driving with an out-of-balance wheel, the wheel literally bounces down the road rather than spinning smoothly. This can affect the speed, handling and mileage of your vehicle. Many of today’s vehicles have lightweight suspension systems and are therefore, more sensitive to imbalance than older vehicles. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle’s wheels balanced when rotating the tires, about every 5,000 miles. It’s not uncommon for wheels to lose a wheel weight from time to time; so periodic balancing minimizes the impact of unbalanced wheels on your car.