5 tips for better tire performance

Tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Unfortunately however, they're often one of the most ignored. This is a shame not only because they're expensive to replace, but it can also present a major safety hazard. Maintaining them isn't really that difficult it just takes a little time each week. Lets look at a few easy ways to extend the life of your tires while keeping you safe on the road.

1) Proper inflation
This is often a source of confusion for many people. It's easy to understand why because we get conflicting information on what the proper pressure is. Tires all have a maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. Many times this is mistaken for the correct information on how much to pump them up. However, if you open the drivers door of the vehicle, you'll see a sticker either on the door or door frame that lists the VIN number and date of manufacture along with the proper tire pressure for your vehicle.

Don't try to cheat on this either. Many people like to run with an extra 5 psi because they feel they'll get better gas mileage. The problem is that the vehicle was designed specifically to react a certain way based on the correct inflation. It seems tedious but it's a good idea to check for proper inflation once a week. Tires can get worn out extremely quickly even only being 3-5 psi low.

2) Regular rotation and balancing
Don't tires rotate while you drive the car? Why would you need to bring the car into a shop to do that? Well, what we really mean by "tire rotation" is that we swap out the front tires for the back and vise versa. This is important because it evens out the wear on your tires over time. It's generally recommended to have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles. 

Having your tires balanced can go along with getting them rotated. Having balanced tires also helps them to wear evenly. What happens is they're placed on a machine and spun. The machine can detect any wobbles that happen and it will tell the technician to add weight to a certain place on one side of the wheel, helping it to spin true.

3) Tire repairs
You've probably heard of tire plugs before. It was an old way of fixing flat, tubeless tires that involved a plug being dipped in contact cement and then being threaded into the hole and sealing it. This is no longer considered the best practice for flat repairs, especially at a reputable shop. A plug may get you home from the side of the road, but it should be fixed properly as soon as possible. 

A proper tire repair involves pulling the tire off the wheel and patching it from the inside. Some repairs actually use a combination patch or "plug-patch" that plugs the hole while patching the inner liner of the tire. These are by far the best. 

If you have to make a tire repair yourself, keep in mind that you should never repair anything that falls outside of the outermost tread lines or in the sidewall. These areas of the tire flex too much to hold a reliable repair. They may hold air for a while but they tend to fail when flexed. Such as when going around a corner at high speed. Not good. 

4) Use tire wear as a clue to vehicle health
You know how eyes are the window to the soul? Well tires are the... OK that analogy would have been a stretch. BUT, they can tell you a lot about your car. Every once in a while, get down and do a visual inspection of the tread on your tires along with feeling around for any odd wear patterns. If you feel "cupping" or "chopping" (regular patterns of uneven wear) it's time to bring it in to see us. These are usually symptoms of front end problems such as ball joints, struts, wheel bearings/hub assemblies, the list goes on. There's a lot of things that can cause weird tire wear but luckily it's usually a snap to diagnose. The key is to catch it early before it destroys your tires or worse.

5) Know when to replace
We know tires are expensive but they are NOT an item to skimp on. It simply doesn't matter how new or safe your car is if you don't have good control and traction on the road. Worse yet, tires can fail catastrophically when they get worn down too far. Maybe not a huge deal if you're just cruising at 5 or 10 mph but on the highway it's nothing but bad news. There are different thresholds for tread depth and when they should be replaced so if in doubt, come ask us. On the other hand, if you see the steel belting of the tire starting to poke through, you probably should have come and seen us a few months ago.

Make regular tire maintenance a part of your routine. Hop out and check the air every once in a while and take a second to give them a look and maybe a kick. If something seems off, bring it in and let us have a look. By bringing your car in every 5000 miles for a rotation you can greatly extend the life of your tires while making sure everything is still in good working order.
Categories: Service
Tags: tires
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