Jean always has great advice!
5 things to think about when you think about replacing your tires.
On the list of fun shopping excursions, buying new tires rates pretty low. Yet, every year our trusty tires transport an average of three tons of vehicle upward of 20,000 miles, making those four rubber circles key players in our personal safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, “More than 11,000 tow-away crashes occur every year related to tire issues.” It can be tempting to let those aging tires roll on a few more months, but if yours are showing signs of wear, it’s time to go shopping. You can narrow down your search using online tools like Tire Rack’s Tire Decision Guide. Here are five things to think about when shopping for new tires.1. Know when it’s time for a change. Keep an eye out for worn tread (if you see the threadlike wear indicators emerging on a tread, it’s definitely time for a change). You can use a penny or a quarter to do the time-honored tread depth check. Look for bulges in the sidewalls, but also pay attention to how the car drives. New road noise, the car pulling to one side, or a vibration in the steering wheel could all be signs that your tires are past their prime. Tiffane Thompson, a Michelin spokesperson, recommends rotating your tires about every 6,000 miles. That’s also the ideal time to have your service person give them a thorough inspection.2. Know your type. There are many variations on the tire theme beginning with three basic categories. All-season tires, the little black dress of the tire world, are suited to a variety of driver demands. Built for longevity, they go from dry to wet to snow, all while keeping the ride quiet and the handing sufficient in most conditions. Winter tires have a unique tread that notches or bites into the snow and ice for better traction, but on clear roads, grip can suffer. Performance tires are designed for drivers who toss their cars through the corners expecting superior grip and handling in wet or dry conditions. The downside to racy performance is a softer tread that will wear more quickly and a ride you might feel in your backside.3. Consider your climate. Thompson says all season tires will likely do the job year round for those of us in sections of the country with moderately cold seasons and snowfall. For dwellers in the great white north where severe winters and consistently frigid temps are the norm, she urges, “There is no substitute for winter tire usage for safe mobility.” If serious rainfall is your main weather challenge, seek out tires with a tread designed to maximize water evacuation for a reliable wet grip.4. Make lifestyle choices. If you are focused on efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in other areas of your life, you might consider eco-friendly tires. They are constructed for low rolling resistance to boost fuel economy and sustainable manufacturing, putting less CO2 into the atmosphere. Some of the brand names are Michelin HydroEdge with Green X, Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology, Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max, and Kumho eco Solus HM KR22. Originally created for use on hybrid and other “green” vehicles, they are increasingly available for a range of vehicles.5. Take the long view. No matter what tires you chose remember to ask detailed questions about the warranty. How many miles does it cover, and what, such as improper maintenance, could potentially void it? Some tire stores and manufacturers offer road hazard warranties, generally at extra cost, which may appeal to you for peace of mind. Thompson stresses the importance of maintenance as well. “To prolong tire life, try to avoid hard stops and starts…keep your car in alignment, and maintain proper tire pressure.”So evaluate your driving needs, grab your wallet and go shopping for best quality tire you can afford. Your most precious cargo is riding on this purchase.