Car tires are one of the most important parts in a car. You should not underestimate their role, considering that engine or brakes are more important. Good tires ensure safety of the driver and passengers. The quality of tires defines everything. High-quality tires provide your car with a better handling and braking on a wet, slippery or dry road. It is also immensely important to choose tires according to weather conditions in a region you live in. In regions, where winter are mild derivers usually put all-season tires on cars, while in countries with severe winters it is preferable to put winter tires or studded winter tires.
Reasons to replace tires
There are different reasons that can arise necessity to replace tires. One of the primary reasons is that tires get worn-out. Tires become legally worn-out when the depth of the tread becomes 2/32 inches. The main purpose of tire tread is to disperse water from the contact patch and provide the grip of the road. The contact patch is a small area, as big as a human palm, that is in contact with the road. In other words, without tread the tire loses its ability to grip the wet road. It cannot stop quickly, turn or accelerate.
Today tires have so-called “wear bars” spaced periodically into the grooves. Wear bars are raised up to 2/32 and help understand when it is time to replace tires. When wear bars become the same level with tread of tires, the driver knows he needs to find a new pair of tires.
There is also another method to define whether the tire is worn out enough to be changed. It called the Lincoln penny tread depth test, and it is used mostly in America. It is necessary to take a penny, find the place in a tire, where tread seems to have the lowest level. The driver has to put Lincoln’s head down the groove. If the driver can see the top of Lincoln’s head with “In God we trust” inscription, that is a bad sign. That means that the tire should be replaced.
On average tires should be replaced once they reach five-year term. This term is usually indicated in cat manuals. It is considered that with age tires become very susceptible to various damages. There are many driving habits that influence the condition of the tire –speeding, emergency braking, quick start, damaged roads, etc. Just imagine how much these factors influence the tire during five years. In the results, the risk of car damage, failure and even an accident increases. Good news is that it is possible to determine the age of any tire, even if you have used tires. There is a DOT number indicated on the tire sidewall, near the rim. The DOT number consists of different digits that tell about the date of manufacturing, manufacturer and other information about the tire. The first two digits denote the week of the manufacturing. The last two digits of the number usually tell about the year of tire manufacturing. For example, 3109 indicates that the tire was produced in 2009 in the 31 st week.
Changing tires on regular basis is important. Therefore, you have to control the condition of the tires and replace them when necessary. Buy new tires when the tread is too low or when the tires become older than 5 years.
What type of tires to choose
There are different types of tires – all season, winter, and summer tires. These tires are designed for different weather conditions and have different characteristics. Using summer tires in winter is not only dangerous for the driver but also bad for the tires. Summer tires are made from a different rubber and, therefore, react to cold temperature differently. Winter tires have higher rubber content that keeps them supple in low temperatures while summer tires provide a better performance in warm weather. There are also all-season tires that are a perfect choice for regions with mild winters. With that in mind, drivers have to replace winter tires with summer tires in summer seasons and vice versa in winter seasons.
Where to buy tires
The choice of tires is abundant. The market of tire production is big and very competitive. Drivers are offered a wide range of high-quality products that are manufactured by well-know and reputable manufacturers. Nevertheless, it is better to buy tires online. Online shops usually offer a better choice in comparison to conventional shops. Pay attention to various special offers of e-shops. You can find a great deal “buy 3 and get 1 for free” or “100 pounds rebate for buying four tires”. Of course, offers depend on manufacturers and some companies are not very generous on discounts.
While determining the budget for new tires, do not forget that you will have to spend extra for installing them – labour and materials to balance them. Do not forget about shipping costs too, when ordering tires from abroad.
Recommended number of tires to be changed
It is a misleading idea that it is possible to replace only one tire. The conditions of front tires might be different from rear tires but it is better to replace all four tires. This will provide complete matching of size, type, tread thickness, and even manufacturer. For most modern cars it is satisfactory to replace two tires at a time but it is mandatory to replace all four tires for some trucks and cars. Full replacement is better and important for four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive cars because full replacement eliminates any damage to components of all-wheel-drive system. The same refers to certain winter tires - they need to be replaced all together. If the type of newly installed tire is different from construction of the tire that is installed now, it can cause problems with handling and control.
It is possible to increase performance of tires by timely maintenance and replacement. Check tires regularly and replace when needed. Do not forget about your driving habits too as they can considerably extend life term of tires.