Right around this time of the year when the snow starts flying, most of us ask ourselves the same question: is it time for new tires? Before replacing your tires, there are a few things to consider. We’ll go through and map everything out to help simplify this often complicated process.
DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED NEW TIRES?
The obvious first step is to determine if you really need new tires or not. If you notice your car is pulling to one side, slipping around, or not confidently stopping when you brake, it might just be a simple fix like filling under-inflated tires. Check the tire pressure on all 4 tires before considering buying new tires.
One easy way to check if you have enough tire tread is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, this means your tire tread is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires.
Even if your tires still have tread, keep in mind that tires aren’t considered safe to drive on after a certain amount of time has passed. Tires dry out over time and become unsafe as they begin to crack or weather check. Old tires are like an old rubber band. They become brittle and lose their strength. Generally, tires should be replaced every 5 years regardless of the tread life. So if you’ve had a car sitting in a garage for a few years, check the production date printed on the sidewall of the tire to see if the 5-year mark is past and they’re due for an inspection.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TIRES
Choosing the right tires isn’t quite as simple as finding tires that fit and then throwing them on. There are a few morchoosing the right tiree things to consider if you want to get the most life out of your tires and have the best performance for the type of terrain and weather conditions you drive through.
Start by looking at your owner’s manual which will tell you the minimum tire requirements, as well as what air pressure you should keep them at. We don’t recommend looking at the sidewall of your tire to determine the correct size and specifications for your vehicle, as they may not be the same size that originally came on your vehicle.
Putting the proper size tires on your vehicle will ensure that the speedometer will be accurate, the right loads will be placed on the driveline components, and your tires won’t rub on the suspension or vehicle body.
Next, ask yourself if you like your current tires, and also what could be better about them?
You’ll want to think back to how your tires handled when they were new. Since your current ones are worn, they’re not a good benchmark to use when thinking about replacements. If your current tires didn’t corner well, you could look for more aggressive high-performance rubber. Was winter traction a problem? Maybe you need better all-season tires or a set of winter tires to swap out with your summer tires when the snow starts to fly. If your current tires worked perfectly, the buying process will be a lot easier. Learn to read the numbers on the sidewall of your current tires to understand the tire’s characteristics. You’ll want to make sure your new tires meet or exceed your vehicle’s load-carrying and speed ratings.
You can waste a lot of money by putting the wrong tires on your vehicle. For instance, if you’re driving a car like a Toyota Prius, you probably don’t need or want expensive high-performance summer tires. Installing durable touring tires on a fast sports car will destroy your car’s handling ability. You want to find the perfect tires to fit your car and your specific needs.
PURCHASING YOUR TIRES AND TIRE INSTALLATION
There are plenty of great tires and tire brands out there. Michelin, BF Goodrich, and Uniroyal are some of our best sellers. They make tires that are perfect for our Pacific Northwest weather. If you’re still not sure what type and brand of tire to get, give the Longview Auto & Tire professionals a call. We’ll help you choose the perfect tire to fit your vehicle and your lifestyle. Plus, we’ll help you find the best deal on the tires you want.
Once you have your new tires installed, don’t forget to take good care of them! You can do this by keeping an eye on your tire pressure and occasionally taking the time to inspect your tires for uneven wear, sidewall damage, or punctures that can turn into leaks and leave you stranded on the side of the road. If you notice your vehicle pulling to one side, this could mean your vehicle’s alignment is off. It’s wise to get this checked out before it causes your tread to wear unevenly.