Tires may seem like an insignificant detail on your vehicle, but in actual fact, they are vital to the safety of your vehicle, passengers and other road users. The tire is the one point of contact between your car and the road. Without sufficient tread, your car’s tires may lose friction, particularly when driving through water. On the other hand, a damaged tire can explode, run-flat or impair the performance of a vehicle.
Tire management is vital to ensure you remain safe on the roads and each driver has certain legal obligations to uphold. Find out how to manage tire maintenance and when to purchase new tires in this article.
Benefits of New Tires
Purchasing new tires for your car may seem like an unnerving task. However, there are many benefits. These include:
- Increased safety for everyone within the vehicle and other road users since there is less risk of skidding or aquaplaning.
- The car’s increased performance due to increased friction between the road and tire.
- Better gas mileage as the tires can work effectively.
- Improved traction as you have full-depth tread.
- Better driving experience as your ride will feel smooth and sturdy.
When to Replace Tires
There are some simple signs to look out for when it comes to tire maintenance, these include:
- Minimal Tread Depth: Most states require the tread depth to be at least 2/32 of an inch. However, you will often be recommended to change your tires when your tread reached 4/32 of an inch (3mm) in the front steering wheels since the tread depth will directly affect the controllability of the car.
A quick way to check your tire tread depth is by sticking a penny into the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, then you need to purchase new tires.
- Old Tires: If your tires are between 6 – 7 years old it’s time to think about replacing them. Over time your tires will become weathered, which can cause them to crack.
- Visible Damage: If you can see any of the following its time to replace your tires:
- Swelling/bulging in the sidewall
- Uneven wear
- Missing chunks
- Sharp objects, such as nails embedded in the tire
There are many different types of tires, so taking some time to consider what you need is wise. Some considerations will be based upon legal requirements, whereas others come down to personal choice.
Tire Load Index
The Tire Load Index chart helps you figure out what kind of tires your vehicle needs. The load index is dependent on the weight of the car and the load combined. In general, most cars will be looking at tires within the 75 – 95 range. This would be based on an ordinary passenger car with boot capacity.
Every car owner’s manual will specify the tire size required for that vehicle. This information can also be found on the information sticker inside the driver’s door, or in the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. However, if you can’t find this information more tire dealers will be able to help you.
The weather conditions you intend to drive your car in will determine the type of tire you will need to purchase. If you live in a more northern state and want a tire for year-round driving, you will need to purchase a tire suitable for all four seasons.
Every type of tire has a life expectancy, meaning the more mileage you cover with your car, the better-quality tire you will require. The budget may also play a part in this decision, alongside performance expectations.
Road noise is directly affected by the type of tire used on a vehicle. The deeper the tread the louder the noise.
Purchasing new tires does not have to be a fearful task, It can be a simple process when you know what to look for and the right questions to ask.