How do you know for sure when it’s time to change your tires? This can be challenging, especially if you don’t know when you bought them or put them on. Reputable tire retailers usually have knowledgeable staff members who can help you choose new tires. They can check their database to check your vehicle’s wheel and tire size, and determine which tires they have in stock to help you.
But before you get to this point, it’s always good to have some basic knowledge of the type of tires you’ll need. You may think you can cut corners and save money by buying cheap tires, but you’ll probably end up replacing them far sooner than you originally intended. It’s best to stick with quality tires. Here are eight things to know about your tires.
- Tires affect mileage. Between 20 and 30 percent of your vehicle’s fuel consumption and 24 percent of CO2 emissions are tire-related, says Energy.gov. Tires have a big impact on vehicle fuel efficiency through something called rolling resistance, which is how a tire overcomes inertia.
- If you don’t know if you need to replace your tires, grab a penny. Tires with 2/32″ of tread are considered bald, which leads to reduced traction and unsafe driving conditions. Insert the penny into the grooves. If you see that Lincoln’s hair is covered, your tread is fine. If not, you need new tires because your tread is worn out.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can increase wear and make it dangerous to be on the road.
- When choosing tires, think about the road conditions where you live. If they’re not good, you may need tires with taller sidewalls to absorb the shock from potholes. Low-profile tires can lead to a harsh ride, not to mention they’re more susceptible to blowouts.
- Not sure which tires you need? Go with your car manufacturer’s recommendation, as they have been best matched to your car’s characteristics. You can find this information inside the driver’s side door, or you could check out a tire retailer online and enter the year, make and model of your vehicle.
- If your climate does not have snow, you will be fine with a passenger or touring tire. But in harsh winter climates, you will need winter tires for the snowy months.
- Don’t choose bigger or wider tires than the manufacturer’s original equipment, as the increased height can make the tire rub against your fender, which changes the shape of the contact patch. The result? You may hydroplane in rainy conditions.
- According to Consumer Reports, all-season tires should last between 40,000 and 100,000 miles. To make sure you get the most life out of your tires, keep them properly inflated and get them rotated according to your owner’s manual so the tread wears evenly.