For the vast majority of people, the accumulated knowledge amounts to “it’s black, it’s round and it’s made of rubber…” but there’s a whole lot more to them that you need to know, that is, if you want to get the longest life out of them and make sure you are getting the right tires for your vehicle.
Here are some key facts about tires.
- When it comes to tire pressure, you should inflate according to the owners manual or the tag inside the drivers side door. You may have previously thought that you fill according to the inflation numbers molded into the side wall of the tire but that is actually the maximum inflation pressure and not the recommendation of the manufacturer. Your vehicle rolled out of the factory with a specific type of wheel and tire based upon it’s handling, steering response, ride quality and braking performance, this includes the pressure in the tire. The size and style and pressure have all be determined by specific performance outcomes and changing any part of the equation can lead to serious issues, not the least of which is safety.
- Narrow tires provide better traction in the snow than bigger and wider tires. Wider tires can almost float on the snow whereas the narrow tires will cut through the surface of the snow to the road surface leading to greater traction. It’s the same in rainy weather as well. In rain though, the tread is meant to act as a squeegee on the wet road to force the water from under the tire and push it through the grooves to provide improved traction.
- If you live in an area where snow is an inevitability, a regular all-season tire is not going to cut it, you will need actual winter tires. Metal studded tires will provide 40% greater traction on ice and hard packed snow over an all-season tire and even a regular winter tire provides 25% better overall performance than an all-season tire will. So if you live anywhere in the northern most part of the United States or Canada, it’s a given you’ll need to the extra gripping ability of winter tires as well as a set of all season tires.
- Tires are lasting longer than ever with the advancement of of polymers and ultra-tensile steel construction, even performance tires can last an average of 45,000 miles. That’s almost as long as the tread life of the tires on your family car passenger tires. Most people think that performance tires wear out faster but it’s not because of the construction of the tire, it’s usually due to the high horsepower vehicle they’re installed on and more often, the jack rabbit starts and quick stops that really eat up the life of the tires.
- The tire manufacturers grade their own tires. Bet you thought there was some sort of government agency grading the tread wear, traction and temperature resistance, didn’t you? Nope, There IS a federal law in place but it requires them to grade themselves and assign their own grades. The government has not mandated that they set up a universal or prescribed formula for converting the test results into commonly accepted grades. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “…tread wear grades are for comparison purposes only and are not intended to be converted into anticipated or promised tire mileage.”
- Gas prices may change, we’ve seen them get lower than they’ve been in a while, but tires will most likely never be cheap as long as we live again. Tires are an important part of fuel efficiency and some experts believe that as much as a 15 to 20 percent difference in fuel economy can directly related to the tires you choose.
Tires are like most things in this world, you pretty much get what you pay for. There are a few great quality tires out there at a lower price point, but tires that seem to be too good to be true price wise, usually are. Check out the reviews that people have given of the tire and the manufacturer. And of course, we’re always happy to point you in the right direction as well.
So if you need anything, tires, brakes, batteries, radiators or any number of basic or intricate services for your foreign or domestic vehicle, give us a call at 208-989-7871 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.all-autorepair.com.