Category Archives: Tires

When is it time for new tires?

When is it time for new tires?

Once we put tires on a car, many of us don't give them another thought, until something goes wrong. It's important to check your tires regularly to make sure they are inflated properly so they last a long time, and to make sure they have adequate tread on them for safety. Driving on bald or nearly bald tires is dangerous. If you're forced to brake suddenly, your car may not stop in time. There are a number of signs to look for in determining if it's time to retire your tires. Cracks in the sidewalls are red flags. So is uneven tread wear, which can be the result of under-or-over inflation, wheels that are out of alignment or suspension problems, according to consumer reports. If the tread is REALLY worn, less than 1/16th of an inch, replace your tires. Most tires come with tread lines that show you how much tread you have left. Another way to determine tread wear is to take a quarter and place it on edge with George Washington's head upside down between the tread ... read more

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Road trip? Check your tires first

Road trip? Check your tires first

Good tires are important all the time, but if you’re planning a summer road trip, they become even more essential. How do you know if yours need to be replaced? The rules have changed, said McAllister. “We used to say a tire down to 2/32 of tread was considered bald, and wouldn’t pass a safety test,” McAllister said. An old rule of thumb was if you placed a penny upside down into the tread and saw the top of Lincoln’s head, it was time for new. “Now, If you use a quarter and see the top of Washington's head you’re at 4/32nds of tread,” McAllister said. “That’s kind of the new standard.” Road tests have proven that even that small difference can lead your car to need 180 feet more to stop. Worn tires also are more prone to injuries. “And who wants to be bothered on vacation getting a tire repaired or replaced?” McAllister said. McAllister recommends a good all-season tire for wet weather traction, but ... read more

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Tire pressure systems

Tire pressure systems

Q. I worked for an automotive center and I'm wondering if TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) is really necessary as opposed to traditional valve stems for automobile tires. Considering the fragility of TPMS units and the product cost and expense associated with replacing them, are motorists paying unnecessarily high replacement costs for an item that has little or marginal value for a car?   A. There is no doubt about the fact that the TPMS can become a considerable additional expense when dealing with tires on today's cars. Let's spend a minute and talk about the negatives of TPMS and then we'll talk about the positives. We'll start with the fact that it is a government mandate. The push for TPMS started when we had the Firestone tire recall in the late 1990s. The Clinton administration enacted the Tread Act that required TPMS technology to be phased in starting in 2005. By 2008 the whole U.S. fleet weighing less than 10,000 pounds was outfitted with TP ... read more

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New tires are better served on the back of your car

New tires are better served on the back of your car

Q. Why would the tire store have put two new tires on the back of my car when it is a front wheel drive vehicle? It seems to me you would want the better traction in the front of the car going into winter. A. It does seem counter intuitive but they did the right thing. Whether it is front-wheel drive or not and you are only replacing two tires, you always put them on the back of the car. The reason they go on the back is for safety while stopping. If you have your best traction on the front and you go into a panic stop or a hard stop on slippery pavement, there is a possibility the front of the car could stop faster than the back causing a bad skid. So for safety and liability purposes, the tire manufacturers require new tires be put on the rear of the car

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Winter tires best on performance cars

Winter tires best on performance cars

Q. I have a BMW rear-wheel drive car and last year I really struggled to drive the car when the roads got snowy. It was actually scary to drive because it did not want to stop -- and the acceleration was really bad, as well. The car seems fine on dry roads. Do I just need new tires?   A. This is a great question and I actually had this same experience with a BMW I owned at one time. The tires still had some tread on them but the car was undrivable in the snow. I chose to buy a set of winter tires on all four wheels and it was amazing how well the car handled in the snow. You will probably get some traction with a new set of regular tires but I highly recommend a set of winter tires for your car to get maximum performance. This advice holds for any performance car with a low-profile tire. I recommend buying winter tires already mounted on another set of wheels so you don't have to mount and balance tires twice a year. It is much better for the tires not to take them on an ... read more

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Rising temperatures change tire pressure

Rising temperatures change tire pressure

Q. I put air in my tires yesterday and had all the tires at the same pressure. My question is that if the tires are in direct sunlight, will that increase tire pressure? I have two tires that were in the shade and two tires in the sun. The tires that were in the shade were the same pressure that I had filled them up with. The two tires in the shade were 1½ pounds heavier. Is that because of the sun hitting the tires? A. Temperature has a big effect on the air pressure in tires, so what happened to you makes sense. The sun heated up the tires on that side of the car and the tire pressure went up. When you check the tire pressure you always want to set it first thing in the morning to the cold tire pressure, as the day warms up the tire pressure will go up. Tires have to be checked periodically, especially when we go through a change of season, which we'll be doing soon. As colder weather sets in, you could see the tire pressure drop by as much as 5 pounds per square inch ... read more

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Check your tires before any road trip!

Check your tires before any road trip!

Good tires are important all the time, but if you’re planning a summer road trip, they become even more essential. How do you know if yours need to be replaced? The rules have changed, said McAllister. “We used to say a tire down to 2/32 of tread was considered bald, and wouldn’t pass a safety test,” McAllister said. An old rule of thumb was if you placed a penny upside down into the tread and saw the top of Lincoln’s head, it was time for new. “Now, If you use a quarter and see the top of Washington's head you’re at 4/32nds of tread,” McAllister said. “That’s kind of the new standard.” Road tests have proven that even that small difference can lead your car to lead 180 feet more to stop. Worn tires also are more prone to injuries. “And who wants to be bothered on vacation getting a tire repaired or replaced?” McAllister said. McAllister recommends a good all-season tire for wet weather traction, but ... read more

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Performance cars often times need winter tires

Performance cars often times need winter tires

Q. My granddaughter's 2011 Ford Focus SES has traction control and good tire tread. When trying to get out of her driveway, the car's tires just spin on the ice we have had lately. Her only option is to push the car free of the ice. She has turned the traction control on and off and still has the result. Two other family cars have no traction problems at all under the same conditions. Any ideas as to what she can do to overcome the problem? A. When you say the tires have good tread, what does that mean? They should have at least 4/32nds of an inch tread and even at that they might not be the best for traction in the snow. Typically we recommend replacing the tires at 4/32nds to get the best snow and wet traction. If the tread is low, replace the tires with a good quality all-season tire. The other thought I have is what type of a tire is it? If it is more of a performance tire you will not get adequate traction in the snow. Many drivers have found that installing a full s ... read more

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