Why Is It Important to Maintain Your Tires?

Why Is It Important to Maintain Your Tires?

Of all the components in your vehicle, your tires are probably the hardest working of them all.  Tires affect your vehicle handling, ride, braking, and safety.  In contact with the road every minute you are driving, your tires are especially vulnerable to wear and tear.  Like any car component, your tires need to be well maintained to insure good performance AND longevity.  With our Flemington Car & Truck Country Tire Care Tips, you will be able to avoid costly repairs and help answer that all important question “when should you replace your tires?”

Tire Rotation

It is very important to follow the tire maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.  On average, most manufacturers recommend your tires be rotated every 5,00-7,000 miles or at every oil change appointment.  A tire rotation serves two specific purposes.  First, by removing each tire and placing it in a different location on the vehicle it ensures that the tire tread will wear evenly.  Caught early, uneven wear can be corrected, which is one way how to take care of new tires.   Secondly, during the rotation, the technician can inspect the condition of each tire.  They will be able to check your tire tread depth, look for signs of pothole tire damage, rim care concerns and punctures from road debris.   Constant contact with rough roads, harsh weather or potholes and tires can experience tread or sidewall damage that can lead to a flat tire that is not repairable if not properly patched.  We never recommend the use of tire care sealant or tire care spray.

Tire Balancing

When your tires are properly balanced, you reduce the uneven wear of the tread and extend their life.  It’s not completely necessary to balance tires when rotating, but it is recommended if you feel any type of vibration in the steering while driving.  A trained tire care specialist should always balance your tires, every 15,000 miles, when a new tire is installed or whenever a vibration is noticed.

 

Wheel Alignment

If you feel a pull or a drift in your steering, your wheels may be out of alignment.  Each vehicle has specific wheel alignment settings. If any alignment measurement falls outside the specified range, uneven tire wear can result, In addition vehicle handling may be affected and fuel economy can be diminished.  You should have the wheel alignment checked and adjusted annually when new tires are installed or any time when unusual steering characteristics are observed.

Air Pressure

Keeping your tires properly inflated is one of the easiest ways how to maintain tires for longer wear and maintain good gas mileage. Underinflated tires will decrease your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduce the life of the tire tread and even increase your risk of a blowout.  Overinflated tires are just as dangerous. It can distort the shape of the tire, leading to decreased traction and increased wear and tear down the center of the tire.  To get an accurate air pressure reading, it is recommended you check the tires in the morning before you have driven the vehicle.  (Driving your vehicle can inflate the actual PSI by as much as 5% giving you an inaccurate reading).   You should do this monthly, as the seasonal weather changes can impact your tire pressure significantly.

Tread Depth and Side Wall Integrity

The primary safety factor of all tires is the depth of the tread and the integrity of the tire side walls.  Tire tread enables your vehicle to grip the road and maintain good control on wet and snowy roads.  If you don’t own a tire depth gauge, you can test the tread on your tires using the “Quarter Test”.  Place the Quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have at least 4/32” of tread and are fine for continued use. If you can see above the top of Washington’s head, it is time to start shopping for new tires. Take measurements in three locations across the tire’s tread. The outer edge, the center, and the inside edge.  If two out of three spots offer you a view above Washington’s head, make an appointment with our service department to have your tires replaced.  Similarly your tire side walls need to be in just as good shape.  Gouges, tears or signs of excessive curb rash (rubbing the side of your tire against curbing) can destabilize the tire making them more susceptible to a blowout even after hitting pothole at low speed.

Flat Tires

Even with regular visits to the tire care center, flat tires still happen.  And before you ask, “can a pothole cause a flat tire”, know that pothole popped tire damage and road debris such as nails can cause any part of your tire to fail.  How you deal with a flat will depend on where the tire was damaged.   First, it is important to understand that all tire care center specialists must conform to the tire manufacturer’s instructions. It is not just important to follow their guidelines for tire warranty on new cars and used cars, but also for your safety.   If a tire cannot be safely repaired, you should replace it.  Paying for a new tire is a much better option than putting yourself, your passengers and your vehicle at risk.

Know Your Tires & Protect Your Investment

As we all know tires, are an expensive repair on most vehicles.  To protect your investment, it is wise to explore the best tire warranty available for your vehicle.  When you purchase your vehicle, many car dealerships have a dealer tire warranty available.  These usually cover rim care service as well as tire warranty nail and road damage coverage.  If you don’t purchase a warranty when you buy your vehicle, you can still purchase a tire warranty every time you replace a tire.  Make sure you know what your tire warranty cover so when you inquire,make sure it covers all your driving concerns and conditions.  This is particularly important if you have run flat tires or low-profile tires.

Much more expensive than standard tires, run flats or zero-pressure tires, are not impervious to flats and damage.  Sometimes referred to as pothole resistant tires, run flat tires and potholes usually don’t lead to an immediate blowout but can cause damage to the rim and tire rods. While these warranty options will cover the tire, they will not cover tire rod repair as that will fall under your vehicle warranty.    Similarly, if a tire is punctured by a nail, it can travel another 100 miles before needing to be replaced.  But driving on a damaged tire can cause issues with handling, especially in bad weather.  Additionally, according to J.D. Powers, people replaced their run-flat tires an average of 6,000 miles sooner than owners using conventional tires.   This makes having coverage even more important to avoid costly replacements.  Another tire that has concerns when it comes to tire warranty coverage are low profile tires.

Low Profile Tires, like their name says, are constructed with a wider tread and a lower tire sidewall giving them a more narrow profile.  What makes a low profile tire popular is the exceptional sports handling they offer.  However, driving a vehicle that is not designed for low profile tires can make handling erratic. On conventional roads, this alternative tire style is not the best tires for potholes or extreme weather conditions.  Understanding how you plan on using a vehicle with low-profile tires will help determine if additional tire care products or tire warranty options should be explored.

 

All in all, keeping your tires in the best condition takes attention to their care and condition.  If you are unsure if your tires are safe, know that any of our Flemington Car and Truck Country trained mechanics can check them out for your peace of mind.  Our Service Centers, centrally located in Hunterdon County, can help our customers in Clinton, Somerville, Bridgewater, Trenton and Princeton, NJ as well as our friends in Bucks County, PA.  If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, all 18 brands we carry offer new tire warranty options.  And our factory-certified used cars must pass a multi-point inspection that includes tire inspection and replacement, offering you a safe and confident set of wheels for your vehicle.