Getting the Most Out of Your New Tires
It is sad news, but just like so many other vehicle parts, tires are getting more expensive. While this may encourage you to go longer between visits to your local tire shop, that is not always a good idea. But there are some things you can do to save money on tires. How often you should change your tires depends on a wide number of factors, including your driving style and tire maintenance. But by taking care of your tires, you can extend their life without risking your safety on the road.
The Value of Good Tires
If you are considering buying a new set of tires for your car, truck or SUV, don’t put it off until your tires are completely worn out – that is quite dangerous, and repairing your car after an accident will cost far more than a new set of tires. Tires are technological wonders, and if you have ever seen the inside of a tire, you would be impressed. The inside of a tire contains multiple layers of materials, each serving a specific function that enables safety, grip, and a smooth ride.
This might seem like an awful lot of information for just some tires, but remember that your tires are the only point of your vehicle that touches the surface of the road. Even if the way your vehicle looks or performs doesn’t mean that much to you, safety should always be one of your top priorities. So it is a good idea to have a conversation with a tire expert at Thomas Nissan to find the best tires for your vehicle, weather conditions, and the roads you travel.
Once you have settled in with your new set of tires, you will want to ensure they last as long as possible. Regardless of how much you spend on tires, they are still a large investment. In order to make sure your tires last a long time, it is important that you follow through with regular maintenance and care. As a bonus, well-kept tires will ensure a vehicle that runs efficiently. Here are a few ways in which you can make your tires last longer.
Rotate Your Tires and Maintain Proper Alignment
You will suffer some pretty serious issues with your tires if you fail to keep your vehicle properly aligned. A proper alignment allows the tires to share the stress of driving equally. Signs of misalignment include a vibrating steering wheel, an off-center steering wheel when you are traveling in a straight line, and a vehicle that leans slightly in one direction. Misalignment can occur when your vehicle is involved in an accident, when you hit a curb or pothole, and if you drive on off-road conditions or on dirt roads. It is recommended that you check your alignment every two or three years and when you have new tires installed.
Many drivers often forget the little maintenance tasks, like rotating the tires on a regular basis. No matter how good your alignment, your tires will still wear unevenly. Rotating and balancing your tires helps spread the wear of your tires more evenly and allow them to last longer. Check your owner’s manual to see how often you should rotate your tires and what pattern you should rotate them in.
Inspect Your Tires for Damage
You might have damage to your tires and not even know it. It is only when you suffer a flat tire that you notice the crack or puncture causing the problem. It is quite easy to inspect your tires and takes very little time, but it will go a long way in ensuring a safe drive and prolonging the life of your tires.
Check your sidewall for bulges, this represents a weak point and could cause tire failure. A bulge on your sidewall cannot be repaired, but it can keep you from having an accident should it give out. Scrapes and gouges on your tread can cause issues as well. You might consider these cosmetic, but they can weaken your tire. Lastly, check the tread for nails, screws, or punctures.
Watch for Road Hazards
Obviously, you will do your best to avoid nails, glass, and other sharp objects on the road, but be aware that there are other road hazards that can cause damage to your tires. If you hit even a small pothole or low curb at a high rate of speed, it can damage your tires and throw your alignment off.
It is important to watch what is on the road, particularly carefully in adverse weather conditions. When it rains or snows, it is far more difficult to see that fastly-approaching pothole in the middle of the road. Slow down and take it easy when driving in bad conditions – it is all too easy to slip on the slick road and slam into a curb. If this does happen, you will need to inspect your tires for damage, and you should also check to see if you need an alignment.
Check Your Air Pressure
One of the easiest steps to extend the life of your tires is to maintain the correct tire pressure. The wrong air pressure can cause all sorts of headaches, including increased stopping distance, sluggish handling, and an increased risk of a blowout. A tire can lose about a pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure every month, so check the pressure at least once a month.
Keep in mind that temperature plays a role in tire pressure. In the winter, colder temperatures will lower air pressure while the warmer weather in the summer will increase tire pressure. Keeping proper tire pressure isn’t just about prolonging the life of your tires. You can improve your gas mileage by keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure.
Go Easy on the Gas and Brake Pedals
If you ever wonder why motor racers hit the pit stop and have their tires changed multiple times per race, it is because they drive so aggressively. If you drive your Pathfinder like you are in the Indy 500, you will burn through tires at a much quicker rate. How fast your tires wear down depends a lot on how you drive. To make your tires last longer, have controlled and measured braking, accelerating, and steering.
Signs You Need to Change Your Tires
No matter how well you care for your tires, they aren’t built to last forever and will need to be replaced. If you are unaware of the warning signs, it could leave you and your family in a dangerous situation. Tires play a critical role in road safety as they are responsible for safe traction, braking, and turning. Here are a few signs that you need a new set of tires.
Tread Wear Bars
New tires have a special design feature that serves as an alert when the tread wears away. Tread wear indicator bars start to appear on your tires when they start to show wear. The more visible the lines become, the thinner your tires are getting. So if you have newer tires, check for these special lines to see if you are in need of a new set of tires.
Vibrations are an indication that something is not quite right with your vehicle. Vibrations could be a sign you need an alignment, have unbalanced tires, or need new tires. If your tires look alright and check out, you should still have them balanced and look into getting an alignment.
Cracks and Gouges in the Sidewalls
Tire tread isn’t the only part of your tire that suffers wear and damage; the sidewalls do as well. Sidewalls get worn down over time due to weather conditions, poor alignment, and age. As stated before, it is a good idea to visually inspect your tires for any damage.
Stay Safe With Good Tires
While you can save money by prolonging your tires’ life, it is important that you do not take this too far and risk your safety by driving with worn-out tires. Worn tires are a huge safety issue and should not be taken lightly. If you even think you might have tire damage or need new tires, pay a visit to the Thomas Nissan service center and let us take a look. If your tires do need replacement, then we have a full stock of affordable, high-quality tires in our inventory.