How to Maintain Your Vehicle’s TiresJul 16th, 2021
Whether it’s a car, truck, or SUV, every vehicle has tires that contact the road. Arguably, tires are the most important component of a vehicle because without them, it wouldn’t go anywhere. As one of the most integral parts of a vehicle, tires can often be neglected by owners. They think that tires just require a bit of air once in a blue moon and they’d be fine. But not so. To prevent premature wear and the cost of replacing a set of tires - which can easily run upwards of $1,000 - there are a few things that owners can do to maintain and extend the life of their vehicle’s tires.
All vehicles and tires have specific tire inflation pressures that each manufacturer recommends. You can find this information in the vehicle’s owners manual or on the inside portion of the driver’s door. Properly inflated tires prevent premature wear, can improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and can also improve the vehicle’s performance.
If a tire is over inflated, it will wear prematurely down the center of the tread. This is caused by the tire bulging in the center and will lead to the center portion of the tread being worn out and providing less grip with the road. Conversely if a tire is under inflated, the outer portions of the tire will remain in contact with the road and the inner portion will not. Both of these conditions can lead to uneven tire wear, reduced performance, and in some cases the tire could blow causing an accident.
Over time, a tire will slowly lose air and that’s why it’s important to check your tire pressures a couple times a month and inflate accordingly.
Even if the tires are properly inflated, they can still unevenly wear out over time. That’s because the front wheels turn when steering and that causes the front tires to effectively scrape against the road at the microscopic level. Over time, this wearing of the front tires will be faster than the rear tires.
Tire rotation works by continually moving tires between different locations of the car, depending on the tire tread pattern. For example, most tire rotations are performed by moving the front wheels & tires to the rear and the rear wheels & tires to the front. Sometimes, they can also be moved to either side, so for example, moving the driver’s side front tire to the passenger’s side rear location.
Usually the tire rotation is performed when you take your vehicle in for an oil change. Depending on the manufacturer and your driving habits, tire rotations can also be done more frequently or approximately every 5,000 to 8,000 km.
Wheel alignments are not just for making sure that your wheels are straight. A wheel alignment also ensures that the tires wear evenly so that they can last as long as possible. Alignments are inexpensive ways to ensure that a tire’s contact patch is straight, in-line and that all the tires are wearing out evenly. Excessive wheel camber or toe can cause the tires to wear out unevenly and will require replacement much sooner than they would normally.
The last way to prolong the life of your tires is to swap them. Granted, this is mainly done in more seasonal climates like here in Vancouver, Canada whereas in Texas for example, it’s not normally done.
Changing between a set of summer or all-season tires and a set of winter (or all-weather) tires will prolong the life of both sets of tires. Studies have shown that changing tires between the winter and summer seasons is actually cheaper at the 5 year mark than using one set all year round. As well, winter tires wear out more quickly than summer or all-season tires during hotter weather. Furthermore, it’ also dangerous to be driving on summer specific tires during the winter as they provide little to no grip in cold and icy conditions.
Eagle Ridge GM – Coquitlam, British Columbia