Here is Why……..
What tires do for you
Let’s take a close look at tires and explain what they do for you. Auto manufactures generally install tires that can deliver a comfortable ride based on the vehicles weight capacity, speed capacity and maneuverability (how the vehicle handles corners) . If any of these specs change on the new tires, you may compromise ride quality.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks on tires, don’t just buy discount tires, search your options, one suggestion is looking at the speed rating on the tire, and if possible, buy a tire with a lower speed rating. This will save you about $20 per tire, that can add up when buying 4 tires.
Beginning in 1991 the speed rating is shown on the tires sidewall after the tire size and will look something like this 225/50R16 87S The first two digits (87S) represent the tire’s load index and are followed by a single letter (87S) identifying the tire’s speed rating . So, if you have a tire on your vehicle that is rated V ( top speed of 149mph) and you drive like your grandparents, it wouldn’t compromise your ride quality at all, it may even produce a more comfortable ride because the sidewalls of the tires are softer and more flexible.
One of the common complaints customers have when replacing the factory tires with discount tires is, the car rides different, usually a more harsh ride when hitting bumps or cracks in the road, or when driving on the highway the car seems to wander. The ride quality has been compromised, I know I sounds like a broken record, but when replacing tires, the customer gets anywhere for 30k – 50k miles out of them on average, that’s a lot of suffering to save a couple of dollars.
Spending a few extra bucks for some decent tires is worth it all day long, your less likely to have pulling problems, balance issues and wandering concerns. Honestly, this is where the rubber meets the road, and it’s probably the most overlooked service for your car, the first question customers ask when presented with the fact that their car needs tires is, how much will this cost. It’s a good question, but certainly not the only you should ask.
Extending the life of your tires
When you install new tire on your vehicle, it’s good to ask the shop if you can look at them before tossing them. By just looking at your tires, you will be able to determine if you should spend a few extra bucks on a 4 wheel alignment ( all 4 wheels can be aligned on most vehicles) to protect your investment from premature wear.
If your tires seem to worn flat across the span of the tread pattern and you don’t notice any uneven tire wear or edge wear, your alignment is probably within spec. If you notice any chop or wave in the tread pattern, it may be time for andalignment. Edge wear is common on front tires because there is more weight in the front of the vehicle and the front tires do all the turning which puts pressure on the tire edges.
If you happen to notice any steel belts showing anywhere on the tire, Do an alignment, you have a problem and it needs to corrected right away, possible worn or damaged suspension parts, or just extremely out of spec. If left like this, you vehicle will eat the new tires in a very short amount of time.
After driving on your new tires, it’s important to protect your investment even further, keep your tire pressures at the spec listed on the sidewall of the tire, and be sure to rotate as necessary, on average, every 5000 – 7500 miles or at oil change intervals.
If a tire vibration occurs, don’t put it off to long, bring it in to the shop asap, tire vibrations can cause tire cupping or an uneven tread pattern, if this happens you can never correct this problem and your investment turns to junk. Here is a picture of some tire wear patterns.
When to change your tires
Keeping a watchful eye on your tires when you know the tread is worn thin is a good idea. A simple visual inspection looking for and abnormalities is easy. All tires have wear bars, it’s a little rubber bar in between each tread, and when your tire is ready to be replaced these little bars will be level with the tread, see picture above.
Another simple trick is to take a penny and turn it so Lincolns head is toward the tire, simply slide the penny in the tread pattern and if Lincolns head is completely showing the tread on your tire is at or under 2/32.
The bottom line on tires is, if you like the quality of your ride when you bought your car, put the same tires back on the car or something very comparable, discount tires are for the birds. If you have a tire on your vehicle that has a very high speed rating and you feel you can live without it, be safe and pick a speed rating that is right for you, it could save you hundreds of dollars without compromising ride quality and possibly improving it.
Note: some tires are exactly the same just the speed rating is different, for example ( Michelin MXV4 has is a V rated and an H rated, but visually you can’t tell the difference, and they’re both a great tire) Maintain your tire pressures and rotate your tires as necessary.
The best tip of the day… Find yourself an honest Technician you can trust and build a relationship with him/her. You would be surprised how much better your car drives when you build a relationship with your tech, coffee and donuts might just get you a discount on labor!