Tag Archives: tire maintenance

Why It’s Important Not to Overlook Tire Conditions

Why It’s Important Not to Overlook Tire Conditions

When it comes to our vehicles, safety and handling are top concerns. The two, of course, go hand in hand. But, some people make the mistake of focusing on the various parts of a vehicle as if they are their own entities rather than how they all work together to keep things going. This really isn’t the best approach.

 

Ask anyone what frustrates them the most about owning a vehicle. Barring the price of automobile insurance (maybe), the answer is probably how expensive the typical auto repair can be. Why do repairs end up being so pricey? Can’t this be done for less? The answer is yes, it probably could have been repaired for less. But, the opportunity for that was months ago before the perfect storm of multiple connected components failing occurred. That’s not meant to be chiding. Rather, in order to save money, it’s important to know that nearly everything is interconnected when it comes to your vehicle’s safety and handling.

 

This is all to say, “Hey, have you checked on your tires lately?” If it’s been longer than six months since your last tire inspection, you’re going to want to schedule an appointment to have your mechanic take a look.

 

Yes, in all of the talk of staying on top of your vehicle to make sure it’s handling fine, you need to be diligent about taking the proper care of your tires. Too often, we focus on the really glaring issues like grinding brakes or pulling to one side when driving when there are other things that should be checked before you get to that point.

 

What we hope to do is here is to stress how important it is to be mindful of your tires and how your tires relate to the other parts of your vehicle that are often the focus when it comes to auto repairs.

 

Why Tires Get Overlooked

 

Believe it or not, there have been studies done on people’s attitudes towards their vehicle’s tires and how many of the common dangerous conditions they could identify. Most respondents could identify at least one risk factor for tire failure, but only 4% could identify a major one: the age of your tires. It’s no secret that vehicle accidents cause a significant number of fatalities every year. What you may not know is that about 6,000 of those fatalities are tied to improper vehicle maintenance and tire failure.

 

Most people can identify worn treads and improper air pressure as major contributors to tire failure and accidents. That’s because you can feel those things to varying degrees while you’re driving. Improper air pressure can cause audible screeching or imperfect steering and handling. If your car isn’t stopping as quickly as it used to, one could suspect the tread has been worn down. It could also be your brakes. Which brings us to the next point about how all of these things are actually connected.

 

How Tires Relate to Brake and Steering Safety

 

The condition of your tires has a direct effect on how your braking and steering responds. It’s true that the condition of your brakes themselves are very important to how well your vehicle stops and responds to depressing the pedal. But, your tires are an equally important part of the equation.

 

Worn tires with low tread can be just as concerning as brakes that are on their way out. That’s because your vehicle will lose a great amount of its ability to “grip” the road as you try to stop. This can mean inaccurate steering where you can more easily lose control. The vehicle won’t be as responsive when trying to stop short. This is especially true if you’re driving in wet conditions. Rainy days can make having worn tread exceptionally dangerous because your ability to control your vehicle diminishes more than it normally would with properly inflated and treaded tires. When your vehicle’s handling begins to feel different, don’t automatically assume there’s something seriously wrong with your brakes or alignment. It could be something as simple as your tires being old, worn out, or not properly inflated. At this early stage, it could be a simple fix that helps solve your problems before they become more serious and expensive.

 

What to Look for When Evaluating Tires

 

So, you’ve seen how critical the status of your tires are to the safety and handling of your vehicle. You know that staying on top of their maintenance is not only important for the tires themselves but also your braking and steering. What should you look for then?

 

You should give your tires a once over every month or so. Sudden variations in temperature may prompt you to check your tire pressure more often because they will respond differently to hotter and colder temperatures. Tread can be checked with the good old penny method. For those who don’t know, you put a penny in the tread of your tires upside down. If Lincoln’s head is still visible, then your tread is too worn and you need to change your tires.

 

To circle back to the topic of aged tires being a silent danger, you should really consider changing tires that are over five or six years old. Ask your mechanic what would be best, but generally, after that point, you’re running a greater risk of sudden blowouts because the rubber is too worn down.

 

The Proper Maintenance

 

You should really be having your tires checked once a year by a professional to ensure that you’re driving safely. That’s because there may be issues that you’re not aware of that need to be addressed relatively soon. While checking your own pressure often is good practice, and even spot checking your tread, nothing can beat a mechanic with experience inspecting your vehicle. You may have cracks in the tire that could lead to an incident. Maybe the alignment of your tires is off. Perhaps the rim of the hub is in danger of tearing through the rubber. These are all things your mechanic will alert you to.

 

As part of your yearly inspection, you’ll also find out about the other possible issues with your braking and steering. Also, keep in mind that there are different tires for different seasons. There is a noticeable performance difference between summer, winter, and all year tires. Depending on the climate you live in, it’s important to know which tires would be best for you.

 

Easy way to save money

 

One of the easiest ways to save money is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Tires wear unevenly depending on where they are located on your vehicle and where you drive. Rotating them routinely helps to even out the wear and prolong the tires life. Anyone who has purchased ties knows they aren’t cheap. So any means to protect your tire investment is money in the bank!

 

Conclusion

 

Making sure your vehicle is up to safety standards takes work. Auto repairs can be pricey, but they don’t need to be if you perform the proper maintenance. Many people don’t worry about their tires until it’s too late and there are real issues that need to be addressed in the immediate future. Combined with their effect on braking and steering, it would be unwise to overlook the importance of staying on top of proper tire maintenance. If you’re unsure if your tires are appropriate for the current season, if they are in acceptable condition, or if it’s time for new ones, call us today. The team at Independent Motors is dedicated to providing you with the best service at a fair price. Don’t take chances when it comes to your tires. Get them inspected soon.

What You Need to Know About Changing to Summer Tires

Summer Tires

The changing of the seasons brings a yearly ritual that we all hopefully enjoy as it signals warmer days and nicer weather. More days are spent with the windows open. The outdoor furniture gets cleaned off in anticipation of more use. We start planning our family vacations. We change the tires on our car.

 

Wait, what? We change the tires on our car? One of these things is not like the others.

 

You do change your tires, right? If not, perhaps you should find out more about using summer tires.

 

It’s safe to say tires are one bit of automobile subject matter that people don’t generally like to think about until they experience a flat. That’s because the process of changing tires is often characterized as time consuming and expensive. Who wouldn’t want to avoid a process that costs you money and time as much as possible? Human nature aside, you could only be causing yourself to incur more expenses down the line by ignoring your tires. Often, the most expensive auto repair can be avoided if proper maintenance is performed at regular intervals.

 

While some may feel a tire is a tire, practically speaking that isn’t true. The reason why we have tires for different seasons is because environmental conditions can have more of an impact on a vehicle than one might realize. Tires, in particular, are designed to deal with a great deal of stress, wear, and tear. Extreme temperatures sometimes require extra fortification that is specifically built into the corresponding season appropriate tire. If you’ve ever wondered what the real difference is between summer tires, winter tires, and even all year tires, this is the quick guide for you.

 

Why Not Just Use All Year Tires?

 

This is probably the first question that comes to mind when you start seeing all these different kinds of tires. Can’t I just stick to one decent set that’s good enough all year round without having to worry about changing them every few months? The answer, as with all things, is “it depends.” Clear as mud, right?

 

There are three different points to keep in mind when trying to determine what kind of tire is right for you: the climate you live in (or plan to be driving in), the expected driving conditions of that place, and the kind of performance you’re looking to get out of your vehicle. The thing with all year tires is that are decidedly, well, middle of the road. They are the Goldilocks tire. All year tires are just right if you live in a mild climate that doesn’t experience extreme weather in any direction, doesn’t necessarily have a whole lot of rainfall or other conditions that would make roads wet, and you’re not driving a car that you’re looking to get as much control over as possible. We’ll get to the control part shortly.

 

If you live in an exceptionally warm climate or a cold one with significant snowfall, your all year tires won’t give you the best performance available. This can lead to other problems, to say nothing of the increase in the chances of having an accident. Each kind of tire gives you additional control, including braking ability, depending on the driving conditions. For example, summer tires have the most precise handling and are a good investment for people with sports cars who greatly value having maximum control on sharp turns and the like.

 

Let’s take a look at winter tires first and why it’s not advised to keep them on your vehicle beyond the snowy months.

 

Why You Need to Switch Off from Your Winter Tires

 

To start, many people ask if they can just keep their winter tires on all year. Is there really that big of a difference? No, it is strongly recommended that you do not keep your winter tires on. Depending on how the weather changes, it can be exceptionally dangerous to do so. That’s because winter tires are constructed differently.

 

The rubber on winter tires is designed to stay soft. That’s because you want the rubber remaining soft enough in the very cold weather of winter. That design will help you have better control and brake sooner in snow. What this means is, in warmer weather when the pavement gets surprisingly hot, the rubber on winter tires can ball up. In some cases, it can even disintegrate. It doesn’t need to be explained how that can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.

 

Additionally, winter tires offer less fine control, making tight turns far more difficult. And in rainy conditions, even all year tires perform better. In dry conditions, winter tires need far more room to brake compared to summer or all year tires. Your chances of making a sudden stop safely diminish if you keep winter tires on beyond the recommended months.

 

The Benefits of Summer Tires

 

You now know how important it is to take the winter tires off once the snow is gone for the year. But, what are the specific advantages of using summer tires during the warm months?

 

The tread compounds in summer tires are designed in such a way that your vehicle will have better traction on hot asphalt. Summer tires are created with performance in mind, as stated earlier. This is why they are ideal for high-performance vehicles. You get increased precision, responsiveness, braking, and cornering. The shallower tread depth on summer tires grips the road better than all year tires.

 

Summer tires offer the best handling experience. All year tires, because they have to be serviceable in performance during light winter months and warmer months, handle comfortably enough. But you sacrifice precision and braking. Additionally, summer tires don’t tend to last as long as all year tires because of their shallow tread. If all year tires get about 60,000 miles, summer tires maybe get around 25,000.

 

Getting Your Tires Regularly Checked

 

Speaking of keeping an eye on your tread, it’s important to be aware of when it’s time to change tires regardless of the seasons. Bald tires are an unnecessary danger. They can pop with more ease, offer little control, and skid with more regularity. In extreme cases, the tire can be worn down to a flat even if no significant puncture has been made.

 

If you’re not sure how long ago you bought your tires or you can’t tell if the tread is too worn down, bring your vehicle in to get looked at. A bald tire is an extreme case that occurs after using tires for far too long. A tire doesn’t have to be completely bald before it starts having performance issues. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to old tires.

 

Conclusion

 

Doing your due diligence and maintaining your tires is important for both extending the years of use of your vehicle and, more importantly, your own personal safety. Part of that due diligence is making sure you’re installing the appropriate tires for the season. At Independent Motors, we’re committed to providing you with the best auto repair services at honest, reasonable prices. Call us today and schedule a time to bring your vehicle in. One of our expert technicians will provide you with the professional service you deserve.