Tire Shop Near Me

Tires can sometimes seem like an afterthought when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Buying new tires can be expensive and easy to put off, but there is so much more that goes into maintaining your tires than meets the eye. The type of tires you put on your car, truck, or SUV will make a big difference in how it handles on road surfaces, how long the tires last, and how it feels and sounds inside the vehicle when you're driving. Before you start searching for a "tire shop near me," it may benefit you to understand the differences between tires and what type of tire your car specifically needs.

Tire buying can be confusing, especially if you aren't in the know when it comes to tire vocabulary. Some tire sales stores might sell you a set of tires that are much more expensive than you should have to pay because they can tell you don't know the difference. Rather than paying too much or not getting a tire that will keep you safe in bad weather, take the time to learn about your tires to save yourself some trouble for your next purchase.

A mechanic is rolling a tire away from a white car at a tire shop near me.

Signs That It's Time for New Tires

We've all had that sinking moment after an inspection where the technician comes out with the bad news that you need to replace your tires. For many, tires are a mystery. How can you tell when the tires need to be replaced? In your mind, it can seem like just a few months ago when you last replaced the tires, but if you spend a lot of time on the road, your tread can wear more quickly. What you may not realize is that every tire has a rating for tread wear, and there are easy ways to test whether or not your tires are ready for a replacement before you have a dangerous blowout while you're driving.

First of all, the easiest way to check your tread for wear is to use the penny test. If you place a penny upside down into the tread of your tires, you shouldn't be able to see Abraham Lincoln's whole head. If you can, your tread is too low to do its job and properly grip the road in bad weather. Go get new tires as soon as possible. If you can almost see his entire head, then it is time to start thinking about new tires sooner rather than later.

Tire wear will happen with a lot of driving, and most of the highway driving we do will wear your tires if you travel every day. Every tire comes with a Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) that measures its treadwear resistance, and you should ask what the rating is for any tire you plan to buy. A tire designated with a rating of 100 is the standard, but most tires will last significantly longer. For example, a tire with a 200 rating will last twice as long as the standard, while a tire with a 300 rating will last three times as long.

Also, you should definitely get your tires replaced if you notice they have any damage to them. This can be damage from running over a curb, a deep pothole, or even just driving with low tire pressure. If you have had to perform any sort of patch job on your tire, you should also replace it as soon as you can. Driving on tires with damage can lead to a tire blowout and damage the car itself.

Common Tire Issues

Since tires are such surprisingly complicated items, there are a lot of potential issues and problems that can arise with them. Fortunately, proper maintenance and service will keep your tires in great shape, but accidents can still happen, and issues can arise. For this reason, it is important to know what sorts of things can go wrong so you can keep an eye out for them.

  • Cupping – Also called "scalloping," this is a specific type of wear on your tire tread that is often caused by issues with your suspension. It is difficult to spot if you are not a mechanic, so if you see strange diagonal wear, then have an expert take a look.
  • Uneven Wear – Many different types of uneven wear can be caused by a wide range of issues, including not rotating your tires or having a bad alignment. Keep an eye out for any uneven wear on your tire shoulders or in the center of your tread, as that can indicate under-inflation or over-inflation.
  • Punctures – Although your tires are designed to take a good amount of abuse, sharp objects can severely damage them. A long nail or other sharp objects on the road can cause punctures that reduce your tire pressure and require tire repairs or replacement.
  • Cracking – Harsh weather, age, or the use of abrasive cleaning products can wear down the protective layers on your tires. This can result in them cracking; if this happens, then you need to have them replaced as soon as possible.

Taking care of your tires through routine rotations and replacements is important, as is having a professional take a look at them if you think something is wrong.

A tire is shown from the side in front of a silver car.

What Type of Tires Do I Need?

Choosing the type of tire to buy for your vehicle depends on a few factors that should be relatively simple to figure into your decision. First, you need to think about when and where you will be driving and what type of weather you expect to encounter most often. Many people who live in areas that get milder winters believe that they don't need snow tires, but that may not necessarily be the best decision. Snow tires are not only designed to tackle snow and ice, but they are also made from special rubber compounds that remain flexible at temperatures below 40 degrees. Regular all-season tires become hard and lose traction as the temperatures fall, making snow tires the better choice even if there isn't any snow on the ground.

Performance summer tires are typically designed for vehicles with a sport-tuned suspension, shocks, and upgraded engines made for driving at high speeds, particularly on curves and corners. With a performance tire, the tread is made to stick to the road for better responsiveness and handling. For a sports car, performance summer tires are a good fit, but they tend to be more expensive than regular all-season tires. It's important to consider whether or not a performance tire is right for your car because while it will provide better handling, the ride quality might go down and the road noise might increase.

All-terrain tires have a tread specialized for handling mud, sand, rock, or dirt. These are the tires to buy for off-road vehicles like trucks or Jeeps that will spend time trail riding, driving on a lot of muddy or dirt roads, or tackling off-road courses for recreation. If you put all-terrain tires on an SUV that you plan to drive mostly on paved roads, you will find the tires are loud on the highway and may make riding in your vehicle less comfortable. The tread on all-terrain tires is generally very deep, and many are capable of functioning as snow tires even though they aren't made from special cold-weather rubber compounds.

If you don't have a sports car or off-road vehicle, you may be wondering which tire you should buy. For most people who drive on paved roads, like in cities or on highways, all-season tires are probably best. They provide the right tread for most types of weather conditions, wet or dry, and will offer a more comfortable ride in the cabin of your vehicle. Even in colder climates, all-season tires will often perform just fine in light snow, as long as you drive with caution.

A close up of the tread of tires are shown at a tire shop near you.

Anatomy of a Tire

Although a tire looks like a pretty simple rubber ring from the outside, there is quite a lot going on with its design and construction. Tires have been evolving over the last century and a half, and modern tires have a lot of work put into making them durable and reliable while giving you the best traction and control possible. Let us take a look at the different parts of your tire so you can get a sense of just how remarkable these rubber rings really are.

Inner Layers

Bead – The innermost part of your tire when looking from the outside, the bead is there to hold your tire onto the wheel. They can be made of a variety of metals, including copper and bronze-plated high tensile steel, which are wound together to create a strong band that holds onto your car's wheel.

  • Bead Filler – This is a bit of rubber found inside the bead that helps provide additional stability to the overall structure of your tire. It can be made from different rubber compounds and designed with different stiffness to help improve performance.
  • Body Plies – The body plies are designed to give your tires strength and deal with the intense forces put on your tires while you drive. They are most often made from polyester and coated in rubber––the radial configuration means they go across the direction of the tire.
  • Inner Liner – Made of a strong rubber compound, the inner liner is essentially designed to retain air pressure and help the tire stay together. Rather than having a separate tube inside the tire, modern tires use the inner liner, beads, and bead filler to hold air in.
  • Belt Plies – These are cords laid across the body plies to provide additional strength and stability for the tire. They are often made from steel and run diagonally against the direction of the body plies, creating layers of strength to last a long time.

Outer Layers

  • Tire Tread – When you look at the surface of your tires, the tread is the raised part that actually comes into contact with the road when you drive. Different rubber compounds are used to improve the longevity, traction, and performance of your tires.
  • Tire Grooves – The grooves are the large spaces between blocks of tread that break up the surface of your tires. They are designed to help push water, slush, and snow out from your tires to help the tread retain contact with the road.
  • Tire Sipes – These are tiny cuts or layers of tread within the main tread of your tires that improve traction. Different designs are used for various conditions like snow and mud or sand, so you will find these on winter and all-terrain tires for going off-road.
  • Shoulder – This is the outer edge of your tire that connects the tread and grooves of the surface to the sidewall. It is susceptible to damage if you run into a curb or other object while on the road.
  • Sidewall – Finally, the sidewall is the side of your tire that faces out––what you can see when looking at your tire from the side. It is marked with information about your tire, including its size, classification, and when it was made.

As you can see, there is a lot going on with the construction of your tires. For the most part, you are not likely to need to know about the inner layers like the beads and plies within your tire. If you ever have a tire get severely damaged, however, then you will probably see these parts of it, and you will better understand what your service professional or mechanic is telling you. We will just say that any time you can see the inside of your tire, then something has gone very wrong, and you need to replace it.

A dark blue car is getting a wheel alignment.

Do I Need a Wheel Alignment With New Tires?

When you replace your tires, it isn't always necessary to have an alignment, but it is often advisable. If you are replacing your tires and they are worn unevenly, that can be a sign of a need for alignment. In that case, an alignment should be performed to protect the investment you're making in your new tires, and it's also an investment in your car overall. Driving your car out of alignment could actually be dangerous if the problem originates from something serious like tie-rods or ball joints in need of repair, which might be the reason your tires are wearing unevenly.

If you're replacing your tires because you had a blowout or ran over something that deflated your tires, you may want to get an alignment just to be sure nothing was knocked out of place when you had an impact or had to drive on a blown tire. Potholes, debris, and objects in the road could all knock your wheels out of alignment. It's best to be safe and have the alignment done. To make things easy for our tire shop customers, Thomas Nissan offers alignments in our comprehensive service center. Ask us about the details!

What You Need to Know About Tire Pressure

Your tires are designed to operate at a particular pressure in order for them to function properly. The pressure inside your tires is based on how much they are filled with air, and this is measured in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). If you do not have enough air in your tires, then the pressure will be too low––too much air in them, and the pressure will be too high. You want to strike the right balance to ensure your tires are properly inflated to make the perfect amount of contact with the road.

You should check the pressure in your tires at least once a month and visually inspect them every time you use your car to see if they seem deflated. When you look at the sidewall of your tires, you will see a tire pressure listed there––that is the maximum amount the tires are designed to withstand, not the level they should be inflated to for regular use. Check for a sticker on the driver's side door jamb that will indicate optimal tire pressure. You can also check your owner's manual for this crucial information. Your tires will typically deflate a little each month through daily driving, and changes in ambient temperature will change your tire pressure, so it is important to check regularly and add more air when needed.

If you notice your tire pressure is frequently low, more often than it should be, then you have an issue and probably need to replace your tires. Low tire pressure will result in your tires being underinflated and soft, with poor efficiency and handling. Overinflating your tires with too much pressure will give you bouncy handling and similar problems, plus it will often result in uneven or excess wear. Proper tire pressure ensures a smooth ride, proper control, optimal fuel efficiency, and better longevity for your tires.

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1427 North Larkin Ave, Joliet, IL, 60435
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Thomas Nissan 41.5495444, -88.1258532.