Is it Better to Plug or Replace a Tire?

Ah, the age-old question: to plug or replace? Many of us have been faced with this same situation over the years. You’re driving to work and hear the thump of a flat tire. You get out to take a look and see the deflated tire, perhaps even some damage. You can’t drive on it, so you call the local tire repair shop.  

Now you’re wondering if you can get away with a simple plug, or if you have to replace the whole tire to great expense. In order to make this determination, it must be assessed by a professional mechanic, and it will depend on the location of the puncture and how severe the damage is.  

So, how do you know if a plug or simple repair is sufficient, or if the whole tire needs to be switched out? Here are some considerations to think about.

When Tire Plugging is a Viable Solution

A tire plug is a piece of rubber than can be inserted into the hole in the tire. Once inserted into the puncture, it will expand and trap any air from escaping. In most cases, tire plugging is only a temporary fix for a tire that has suffered minor damage. It’s not generally a permanent solution that you should rely on for any length of time. However, it is safe to drive your car with a tire plug for a short while. They’re best used for small holes that measure no more than ¼ inch in diameter, best when used on the tread rather than on or near the sidewalls. 

When Replacement is a Better idea

You never want to hear that you have to replace a tire. They’re expensive and a hassle, and it may seem like a waste if you have plenty of tread remaining. But safety always comes first and your car is only as safe as the tires it sits on. As the only part of your car that actually touches the road, you have to make a decision in the interest of safety. You will need a new tire if:

  • There’s any damage to the shoulder or sidewall
  • You have a large hole more than ¼” in diameter
  • You have severe damage, such as tread separation or big gashes
  • The tire was damaged in a previously-repaired area

You shouldn’t ignore any hole, gash or slow leak, no matter how inconspicuous it may seem at first. Not all tires blow out when on the road. Slow leaks can be just as dangerous due to the rapidly decreasing tire pressure. Check your tires regularly for damage, wear and tear, and pressure. It’s usually the safest bet to replace a damaged tire but if the problem is minor, you may be able to get by with a plug for a while.

Contact I&I Tires

If you need a plug or replacement while on the road, contact us right away in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278.

Prepping Your Car and Tires For Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is the perfect time for setting out on a road trip. But before you go, make sure you heed this checklist so you can ensure your total safety on the roadways.

1.  Check Tires

Inspect all of your tires and make sure they are properly inflated. The same goes for your spare tire. Be on the lookout for cuts, gouges and sidewall bulges. Place a quarter upside down into the grooves to check on the state of the tire tread. If you can spot the top of George Washington’s head, new tires are in order.


It’s best to check tire pressure when the car is cool and has been idle for a while. Inflate as needed.

2.  Check the Brakes


While driving, listen for any grinding sounds or feel for any vibrations when applying the brakes. Take your car to a mechanic for an inspection. They’ll check the entire brake system for leaks, and ensure the pads, rotors, drums and shoes are in good shape.

3.  Test the Battery

Check your battery for tight cable connections and secure hardware. Your mechanic can determine remaining battery capacity. Many places do it for free.

4.  Top Off Fluids


Check fluid levels for your engine oil, coolant, and brake, power steering and transmission fluids. If you have to add fluids, use products recommended in the owner’s manual.

5.  Replace Wiper Blades/Replenish Windshield Fluid

Rubber wiper blades will deteriorate over time, causing streaks in your windshield during a rain storm. If it’s been a while since you replaced yours, do it now before your trip. Add fluid to the windshield washer reservoir and check the nozzles.

6.  Check Belts and Hoses


Inspect and replace your reinforced rubber drive belts (these power the engine water pump, alternator and air conditioning compressor) if you notice they are glazed, cracked or frayed. Even if you don’t see visible signs of wear, replace drive belts every 60,000 miles.

Next, check your radiator hoses, replacing any that look worn, brittle, bulging or soft. At the same time, check for leaks near hose clamps, the radiator and the water pump.

7.     Check the AC


Take a test drive and make sure the AC is running cool. If it’s blowing warm air, get it checked.  This is also a good time to have your cabin filter inspected and replaced.

8.  Replenish Emergency Kit Supplies


Keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your car for any eventuality, such as a flashlight and batteries, first aid supplies, water, non-perishable snacks (protein bars, nuts, etc.), battery cables, emergency flares, tool kit, gloves, duct tape and rags. You may also want to add a toiletries kit filled with saline solution and extra contacts, prescription medicine, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and the like.

Contact I&I Tires

Before you set out on your summer road trip, be sure to go over the above checklist. If you do encounter problems on the road, contact us right away in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278.

How Long Can You Drive on a Spare?

You’re driving along, minding your own business when you hear a thud, then a repetitive bumping sound. You have a flat. Great timing, right? If you know how to change a tire and can do so safely off to the side of the road away from traffic, you can at least proceed to your destination – if it’s close by.

It’s really best to drive it straight to the tire shop or call for mobile service. While spares are designed to get you out of a jam in a pinch, they shouldn’t be driven on for too long – just enough to get to a safe place where a real tire can be put on. In an ideal world, you would call for concierge roadside mobile tire service.

Here are the ins and outs of driving on a spare.

What to do After a Blowout

When the blowout or flat tire first happens, remain calm. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to maintain control of your vehicle. Don’t slam on the brakes; rather, apply gentle pressure so your car can gradually slow down. Pull to the side of the road when safe to do so, switch on the hazard lights and engage the parking brake.

Call a roadside assistance company like I&I to take off the blown tire and attach the spare if you are not familiar with how to do this.

How Long to Drive on a Spare

How long you can safely drive on your spare tire will depend on the quality of the spare. The general rule of thumb is to drive on it for fewer than 70 miles before getting it replaced, but you can consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations on your make and model. If you have a compact car, you will likely have a donut spare, which is smaller than others and has minimal tread.

You don’t want to drive on those for any length of time because it’s dangerous. As the tire’s lubricating grease wears out, the clutch plates and gears can get damaged. Spares also typically have lower air pressure levels than standard tires, which can throw off your vehicle’s wheel alignment. As a result, it will be tougher to steer and can create unsafe road conditions.

If you have a truck or SUV, you will likely have a full-size spare, which can be driven on for longer periods of time than a donut spare can. Again, check your owner’s manual. Even so, the spare may be a different brand, with a different tread level as opposed to your other three tires. Not only can this put unnecessary wear and tear on your gears, it can affect wheel alignment and steering.

In the end, it’s just best to get a tire put on as soon as you can. The spare is only meant to get you by in an emergency. Plus, you want to be able to store and use your spare again if need be, so you want to maintain its integrity as long as possible. 

Contact I&I Tires

The simplest and safest course of action is to call I&I Tires for mobile or roadside service! All you have to do is contact us in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278.

How Tires Are Made

You probably don’t give much thought to how your tires are made, but the process is actually quite fascinating.

In general, tires are made from flexible, strong rubber that attaches to the rim of your wheel. Its purpose is to offer a textured gripping surface for traction, serving as a kind of cushion for the wheels of your car. Tires are the first and only contact your car has with the road, making it easier to steer, brake, turn and accelerate.

A Bit of History

The first vulcanized rubber pneumatic tire was invented in 1845 by Robert William Thomson. However, it was too expensive to produce on a mass basis and never made it beyond the invention stage. Then the 1880s came around and John Boyd Dunlop invented the first inflatable tire for bicycles. Many years later, André Michelin and Edouard, his brother, created the first pneumatic tires for use on an automobile. However, they were not durable enough.

Then, in 1911, Philip Strauss invented the tire and air-filled inner tube combination that could be used on motor vehicles successfully.  

The Tire Making Process

Raw Materials

The main ingredients used in the production of tires include natural and synthetic rubber. The raw rubber is made by mixing liquid latex with acids that solidify the rubber. Excess water is taken out of the rubber, forming sheets that are placed into bales after being dried and pressed. Synthetic rubber is made from polymers in crude oil. Other main ingredients include reinforcement cables, carbon black, silica, and sulfur. 

Design

There are four basic components in tires:

  1. Beads
  2. Body
  3. Sidewalls
  4. Tread

Many tires can be customized according to the specifications and performance needs of the car, meaning they can be optimized for varying conditions. First, a tire prototype is created, which is rigorously tested. It must pass inspections for safety, durability and performance before mass production can begin.

Manufacture

The raw materials are mixed in a regulated batch of black material, overseen by a computer to ensure standardization. The compounded materials are then used to make other tire components such as sidewalls and treads. Assembly follows.

The technician wraps the rubber-covered fabric around the machine drum. Beads are added and the edges are shaped. The extruded rubber layers are glued to the sidewalls and tread, then the tire is placed into a mold for curing. Once it is inspected and tested, it is distributed.

Your tires are arguably the most important part of your car. Your very safety is riding on their effectiveness. Did you know that more than 250 million new tires are made every year? Make sure the ones on your vehicle are of the highest quality to prevent unfortunate accidents or costly replacements.

Contact I&I Tires

Looking for new tires? We can tell you all about our complete inventory as well as our mobile tire services when you contact us. We are located in Atlanta and can be reached at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278, so schedule an appointment today!

How to Match Your Tires to the Right Rim Size

If you’re in the market to change rim sizes or you want to change tire size for your vehicle, you may wonder where to start. After all, it has to be a precise fit, and those numbers can certainly get confusing. For instance, a tire size that reads 225/60R16 means the tire itself is 225 millimeters wide, the sidewall height is 60 and the center hole diameter totals 16 inches.

You only need two out of those three measurements to fit the tire to the rim: section width and center hole diameter.

Step 1: Place the rim up-right, like it was mounted to a vehicle.

Step 2: Going from inside of one bead (lip of the rim) to the inside of the other, measure the width of the rim.

Step 3: Multiply width (in inches) by 25.4 (total mm per inch). This will provide you with the first number in your tire size. You can add up to 10 mm to the width. Measure the height of the rim, rounding down for diameter.

Reading a Rim Size

All rims have three common sizes that have been stamped on the back part of the hub. These sizes are the most important in figuring out if the rim will accommodate the tire; but there are two other, equally important, measurements that you should know about.

Step 1: Find the size on the back of the hub, which will be broken out into diameter, width and bolt pattern. Let’s take a 14 by 6 by 4.5 reading: the diameter is 14 inches, the width is six inches and the 4.5 indicates the bolt pattern, which will tell you whether that particular rim will fit your car.

Step 2: Use a measuring tape to determine the rim width, diameter and bolt pattern if you can’t find the stamp.

Step 3: Write all measurements down before you forget them.

Step 4: Take a look at the backspace and offset of the rim, which are other indicators of whether that particular rim will work with your tire and car.

Step 5: Call a professional. If all this sounds like too much work, call your local trusted mobile tire repair shop. I&I Tires can install new tires on any kind of rim you may have. In fact, we carry many brands to fit all budgets, including Michelin, Continental, Pirelli and Firestone. We’re always running promotions on all the major brands. We will determine the rim size and tire you need and match everything up perfectly!

Contact I&I Tires

If you’re looking for help determining tire size and rim size, no worries. Just contact us in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278 to schedule an appointment. We have many brand new and used tires in stock and can help you ensure the tires match your rims.

Pre-Road Trip Tire Safety Checklist

If you’re heading out on a road trip soon, it’s vital that you do a thorough tire check beforehand to boost your safety as well as your fuel economy. The following tire check tips should be done monthly, but also right before you take a road trip in the car. You don’t want to experience a flat tire while away from home, or worse, a blowout while on the highway. Be safe and heed these tips.

1.  Check Tire Pressure

Air pressure is critically important in the life of your tires. Ensuring proper pressure levels will extend your tire’s service life span as well as keep you safe on the road. It’s a fact that tires lose pressure over time. Under-inflation makes the tire flex more and build up heat that can result in tire failure. Underinflated tires can wear out faster and be less fuel-efficient.

Inflate your tires to the correct pressure, which is usually written on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb. It’s best to check pressure when the tires are cold, so wait till your car has been parked for a few hours. Don’t forget to check the spare tire pressure too! Don’t wait for a light to come on your dashboard – by the time you get an alert from your car’s tire-pressure monitoring system, the situation has become urgent and you may have already lost 25 percent.

2.  Check Tread Depth

You’ll need a quarter for this experiment. Put the quarter upside down in one of the grooves. If you’re able to view all of Washington’s head, you need new tires.

3.  Inspect Sidewalls

Your wheels may have hit potholes, curbs, and other objects, leaving bulges and cuts in your tires. This is a sign you need to get your tire replaced.

4.  Think About Age

Check the date code for when each tire was made. On the lower sidewall, look for “DOT” followed by a bunch of numbers, the last four of which will tell you the year of manufacture. It’s recommended that you replace tires after six years of use. Once the 10-year mark hits, you should replace the tires no matter what the wear looks like.

If you’re unsure whether your tires are in road-worthy condition, consult with a tire specialist for safety. Before heading out on a road trip this summer, call us for a tire inspection, change or repair for your peace of mind.

Contact I&I Tires

If you’re heading out on a road trip and want to be safe with new tires, contact us in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278 to schedule an appointment.

Things to Consider When Buying New Tires

Faced with buying new tires? It can be an overwhelming experience, to be sure. Tires are a big investment, after all. Plus, there are countless brands, types and sizes out there to choose from. This can all get pretty confusing. So, how do you know which type of tire to go with?

Before taking the plunge, ask yourself these questions:

  • What type of tires does my specific vehicle need?
  • How many miles do I want my tires to last?
  • What’s my budget?
  • Should I replace all the tires or upgrade only the ones that need it?

Most of today’s vehicles come with all-season tires, but there are some distinctions for older tires, or for those who live in cold climates. For those needs, you can opt to put on winter or snow tires to navigate in icy and snowy conditions, providing better traction than summer or all-season tires.

Let’s go over some of the categories:

Summer Tires

These really should be called “three-season” tires, providing dry- and wet-weather traction in warm to moderate weather. These tires will ensure a better steering response, boost cornering traction and help you bring your vehicle to a stop more efficiently. They work best at temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower than that and they can get skittish and inconsistent, losing some of their grip which may make them shaky on wet roads.

Winter Tires

Offering maximum traction in snowy and slippery conditions, so-called snow tires offer unparalleled stopping and turning capabilities. They work best in cold weather but don’t work as well when the weather turns warm. It’s recommend you use your summer tires throughout the other three seasons, and put on winter tires for the cold weather.

Tire Size

It’s helpful to know the tire size and speed rating of your vehicle. Also, think about how many miles you typically drive and how much you want to get out of any new set that you buy, known as tread wear. You should be able to get this info from the tire’s sidewall or from your owner’s manuals.

Speed Rating

This is an indication of how fast the tires can go safely for long periods of time. In general, tires for high-performance cars have a higher speed rating than sedans and SUVs.

Tread Wear

Consider the treadwear rating and the tire mileage warranty. You’ll find the tread wear rating on the sidewall after “treadwear.” The higher the number, the longer lasting the tire will be. Another way of determining tire life is to take a look at the manufacturer’s tread life warranty.

Contact I&I Tires

Contact us at 678-403-8029 if you have questions about switching out your tires. We will gladly recommend which set would be best for your particular vehicle.

What Happens When Your Car’s Tires Sit Idle in One Spot for Too Long?

flatspotting

This is called flatspotting. Essentially, this is just what it sounds like: your tires will develop flat spots if they sit in one place for too long, especially out in the cold. They will spread out and flatten in the area where they are touching the pavement. When it’s cold out, the rubber will get stiff and the flat spots will remain even after you drive off. You may hear a bumping sound.

So what do you do if this happens?Often, they will work out on their own as you keep driving and the tires warm up. Tires are pretty flexible, and will probably get back to normal within about 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes, though, those flat spots can be permanent, especially in the case of a very heavy vehicle that’s parked for extended periods of time, such as a truck.

Tips to Avoid Flatspotting

Heed these tips to avoid flatspotting on your vehicle’s tires.

  • Ensure proper air pressure in your tires at all time. When they don’t have enough air in them, they can’t handle the load as well.
  • Don’t park your vehicle on a cold surface for several weeks at once, especially one that’s loaded heavily with stuff.
  • For extremely heavy loads, jack up your vehicle, which will alleviate pressure from the tires.
  • Start up your vehicle and drive it around every now and then. This will keep fluids circulating and ensure systems like the transmission and brakes stay well lubricated. Moving your vehicle periodically will guard against tire deterioration, flat spots and bubbles.
  • Visit your trusted tire repair mechanic if you notice any flatspotting or other issues. 

Which Types of Tires are Prone to Flatspotting?

You would think that cheap tires would be more likely to fall victim to this. However, in many cases, high-performance tires are the ones guilty of this. Why? They are softer than other types of tires, manufactured to hug the roads and corners at high speeds.

High performance tires are more flexible, which makes them prone to flattening when in one spot for too long. They also have wider footprints, which means they are more sensitive to the road’s temperature fluctuations.

Why Take Care of Your Tires?

Remember, your tires are your connection to the surface of the road. Without quality tires, you risk your safety as well as the integrity of the vehicle. When you treat your tires with TLC, they will reward you with money savings on gas, resulting in a smoother, safer ride for all occupants.

On top of all that, your tires impact the way in which your vehicle can steer, brake and grip the road. Keep it at the proper air pressure, balance, tread depth, and alignment for the safest and most cost effective results possible.  

When you leave your car unused for long periods of time, you risk issues with the tires, to be sure, but also with the battery and braking systems.  

Always keep in mind that tires kept in poor condition are dangerous and could result in serious accidents and injuries.

Contact I&I Tires

Contact us today for a free quote on tire repair or mobile tire service in Atlanta GA if you notice flatspotting, bubbling or any other issues.

What Happens if I Don’t Rotate My Tires?

It’s important to never skip a tire rotation. This chore can easily be forgotten about, but your trusted mechanic or tire shop should take care of this for you. Here’s why you should stay on top of regular tire rotations, usually done at every other oil change.

What is a Tire Rotation?

While it may be the most neglected of all vehicle maintenance tasks, it’s recommended by all car manufacturers as a way of managing tire tread wear. This encompasses all the grating, scraping and scouring that occurs to your tread while your tires carry your vehicle over rough surfaces and roads. During a standard tire rotation, each tire will be moved to a different position on the axles. It’s this shuffle that will help your tires wear more evenly.

Most manufacturers recommend a tire rotation every 7,500 miles or six months.

Importance of Rotating Tires

When you rotate your tires regularly, you are doing your part to support even tread wear, which improves handling, reduces noise and vibration, extends the life of the tire, and protects your tire warranty. With regular rotation, you won’t need a new set of tires as frequently and you also get a much better driving experience.

What Happens if I Don’t Rotate My Tires?

If you neglect regular rotations, the tire tread will wear down unevenly, which creates a rough and unstable driving surface. This decreases your safety while on the road due to heat buildup, poor traction in ice and snow, hydroplaning, and a higher risk of blowouts and punctures.

Heat Buildup

When your car is driving along, the friction that develops between your tires and the road will generate heat. Sure, tires are built to withstand high heat, but if the treads don’t get the space they need to enable cool airflow, temperatures can hit unsafe levels. Too much heat results in tire failures, such as tread separation and blowouts.

Hydroplaning

Those deep grooves in a healthy-treaded tire work to channel water away from the road surface, enabling the tire to keep a firm grip on the road. Without enough tread depth, tires tend to skim across the water’s top, which compromises your steering, control and handling.

Poor Traction

With deeper, sharper, wider and more irregular treads, snow tires will improve traction because they grip into packed snow. When driving in winter conditions fraught with insufficient tread depths, this increases your risk of sliding or spinning out.

Blowouts and Punctures

If you fail to rotate your tires, certain spots on a particular tire that experience excessive strain may begin to thin out. The thinner that spot gets, the higher the risk that a nail, piece of glass, or sharp rock can poke a hole in the tire.

The advantages of regular tire rotation certainly outweigh the risks of skipping this task!

Contact I&I Tires

Get in touch with us at 678-403-8029 to book your appointment for a tire rotation.

5 Car Parts Pot Holes Can Damage

Car damage from potholes is extremely common during the fall in Atlanta. You’ll want to regularly inspect your tires for bulges, suspension problems, and body damage after driving over a particularly nasty pothole.

You may encounter dozens of potholes on your way to work every day, and you can only avoid them for so long. You are bound to hit one eventually, and that can seriously damage your vehicle.

How Potholes Form

Potholes are basically road imperfections that occur when soil that is compacted underneath pavement gets displaced or weakened. Roads tend to form potholes in winter and spring, when ice and running water being to disrupt the pavement’s base layers. As more and more cars drive over such weak spots, the pavement will start to deform, crack and chip away, leaving a hole in its wake. Potholes start off fairly small, but will grow as more and more traffic hits them, until they get deep enough and large enough to damage a car or truck.

Common Car Parts to Get Damaged by Potholes

  • Tires: Tires are literally where the rubber meets the road, so pothole damage is very common, forming sidewall bulges, flats and tread separation. This is because potholes have a hard edge that can compress the tire against the wheel during an impact, snapping the belts or slicing the rubber. Vehicles with low-profile tires are especially prone to pothole damage. Make sure your tires are always properly inflated to help avoid the above issues.
  • Wheels: Hard pothole angles tend to apply impact force to wheels, which leads to bends, chips, and cracks. A bent wheel doesn’t roll smoothly and can’t form an airtight seal with the tire. You’ll know you have a chip because they resemble a chunk that’s missing from the rim where it joins the tire. Cracks can show themselves in subtle hairline fractures around the wheel circumference or within a spoke.
  • Suspension: Your car’s suspension system is meant to absorb impacts and give you a smooth ride, but it can only handle so much. Jarring, sudden hits against potholes can result in misalignment, broken ball joints, and damaged struts or shocks.
  • Exhaust: Your exhaust pipes run along the car’s undercarriage, an unfortunate target for potholes. Deep ones can even cause your car to bottom out and then scrape against the pavement. This will dent or rip a hole in the muffler, exhaust pipes or catalytic converter.
  • Body: Potholes can scrape up against low-hanging side skirts or bumpers in low-riders. Typically, this type of damage is cosmetic and won’t affect safety or performance, but if the appearance of your vehicle is a high priority for you, you will need to ensure the utmost proper handling of your car.

Thankfully, most potholes aren’t deep enough or big enough to pose a threat to your vehicle. You can combat possible damage from potholes by making sure your tires are properly inflated and your suspension correctly aligned, your vehicle should take most moderate potholes in stride. Just be sure to stay alert on the roadways and avoid them the best you can.

Contact I&I Tires

Pothole got you stranded on the side of the road? Schedule your mobile tire inspection, replacement or repair with us today at 678-403-8029.