You can think of new tires for your car like new tennis shoes for your feet! Sooner or later your tires will wear out and you’ll need to replace them. New tires can have a tremendous effect on how your car rides, the smoothness of the ride, the quietness or noise level going down the highway, and the traction on both wet or dry pavement. New tires, and having the correct tires for your car, is one of the most important decisions you can make for your car. The tires on your car are very important for keeping your car on the road, stopping when you need to stop, and not losing control. Don’t risk your safety when it comes to having the right tires.
Now, once you get your new tires, you need to make sure you take care of them to maximize their performance. Taking care of your tires will make them last longer, keep you safer on the road, and save you money in two ways! The first way taking care of your tires will save you money is by giving you better fuel economy. The second way is by just lasting longer, meaning it will be a longer time before you have to spend more money on another set of tires. Here’s what we mean by these statements:
#1. Properly inflated tires keep you safer on the road.
Your tires are your car’s only contact with the road surface. You only have a few square inches of rubber that is handling all the momentum of a 3 to 6 thousand pound vehicle hurtling down the road at 50 miles per hour. So it is crucial that they have the proper inflation to maintain the right amount of firmness to hold the weight of your car as intended and designed by the tire manufacturer. This helps them have the intended shape and dimensions to meet the road both when going straight and in curves. If you turn your steering wheel then your tires have to redirect all of the vehicle's energy and weight. If there is a pothole, or even a rock, they have to absorb that impact and instantly change their shape to match what they are rolling over without tearing or rupturing. If your tires are underinflated, meaning they are below recommended tire pressure, then they don’t have enough air in the tire to support the weight. If you impact a pothole the tire might give and bend more than it should and allow the weight of the car to compress the tire so much that the rim comes in contact with the road. If that happens it is likely to pinch the tire between the rim and the road and rupture it, and suddenly you have a flat while traveling at high speed. Not good! And continually driving long distances and / or at high speed can cause an underinflated tire to overheat and you could potentially get a blowout. Again, not good! So, should you just make sure you have a whole lot of air in your tire? No; an over inflated tire can be just as dangerous. Imagine if you encounter an obstacle in the road and the tire is overinflated it might resist changing its shape so much that the obstacle punctures the tire instead of the tire conforming it’s shape around it. Proper inflation of your tires is critical.
#2. Properly inflated tires will save you money!
Long term driving on an improperly inflated tire can cause improper and uneven wear on the tire over the long term. That means that your tires will ride and wear on one part more than the other. You’ll end up with one part of the tire being thinner, with less tread, traction, and water handling ability, than other parts of the tire. Naturally this affects the ride, comfort, noise, and safety. This can be extremely important in cornering and on wet roads. If this happens to your tires then you’ll have to replace it sooner, It doesn’t matter if the other 70 percent of your tire is good if there is 30 percent that is so thin it begins to leak air. The tire simply won’t last as long as intended by the design, and thus cost you more money because you’ll have to replace the tires more often.
Did you know underinflated tires have one of the biggest effects on your gas mileage? It just makes sense. A tire that is underinflated is softer, which makes it harder for the engine to push the car down the road because the tire just does not roll as well as if it had more air in it and was firmer. This can cost you a lot of money over the long term. I can give you a specific example of a minivan that was getting 25% LESS fuel economy than advertised. The owner changed the air filter, changed the oil, put better gas, used fuel injector cleaner, nothing made a difference until they checked the air pressure in the tires. The tires “looked” fine but they found out they were underinflated by about 10 pounds so they added air to the tires. Immediately their fuel economy went up to the advertised economy for the vehicle. Over the course of an average month we would expect proper tire inflation could save the average driver $5 to $15 dollars depending on your driving habits, fuel prices, and type of vehicle.
Now, all of this begs the big question… “How do I know how much air to put in my tire?” Good question; glad you asked. Have you heard of the tire placard, or tire sticker? Every car sold in the USA has one, and they are most always mounted on the driver’s door sash. Open the door, and there it is. It will tell you exactly what size tire the car manufacturer recommends, and how much air pressure to have in each one. If you follow that guide you should be good to go with no worries.
What ever kind of car or truck you drive, we can help you get the right size tires for your new or used car, nearly every make and model. We can mount and balance them while you wait in the comfort of our waiting room. We can even give you an alignment if you need to keep your tires from wearing out unevenly and prematurely, and to help keep your car straight on the road. Give us a call, you’ll be glad you did.