We all have heard it before, “You need new tires”. (UGH) But how important is this statement when told? Tires can be an expensive investment, but a worthwhile one! So lets get educated on why you need to ask questions first, before making the decision.
Here’s how to know if you actually NEED to spend the money on new tires, and how it will benefit you, your family and your vehicle in the long run.
First, I’ll give you a run down on the “lingo” of the tire world.
1. Tread- This is the rubber, also known as pattern on the circumference of the tire.
2. Sidewall- This is the section between the tread and the rim, kind of exactly as it says – the side wall of the tire.This is also where you find all the pertinent information on your particular tire, brand, size, date of manufacturing, and maximum pressure specifications.
3. Feathering/Scalloping- is when the tread blocks on one side of the shoulder develop a raised wear pattern. When running your hands over the tread you feel a distinct flutter type sensation. Also the biggest indicator of fluttering is the change in the tire/road noise you hear- your tires will SING!!
4. Alignment- We’ve all heard this term, but what does it really mean? Your vehicle’s alignment is basically all of your vehicle’s suspension components are carefully calculated to be in a certain spot to obtain and maintain optimal straightness of the vehicle (and most important ware on your tires and suspension) The 3 main measurement’s are caster, camber and toe.
5. Balance- Our tires have to be balanced accordingly in order to give us the best ride, help our tires last longer. Basically wheel/tire balancing is more of a process than a condition. Wheel balancing is when the tire is put onto a machine and the combined weight of the tire and wheel are equalized, so that it spins smoothly. Without your tires being in balance, you create uneven ware, a vibration feeling and road noise. Manufacture’s recommend your tires/wheels be balanced once a year.
6. Rotation- This is a service where the tires are rotated either side to side, front to back or both. What we call an “X” pattern. Tires should be rotated every other oil change to extend their life.
7. Dry-rotting- Most likely to happen in a lovely state like Arizona, dry-rotting tires are very common. This is wear the tires seem to slowly crack, and almost fall apart. The Arizona heat and dust are tough on rubber components here, imagine driving down the hot pavement in 110 degree weather where the pavement in double that- plus the heat already from the friction- WOW!
OK! So now that we have some of the basics of tire “lingo” down, let’s figure out what questions to ask.
The Top 3 Questions to ask:
1. What is wrong with my tires? (obvious, but make them show you the reason, after all seeing is believing.)
2. Have them explain in detail what they believe is the root cause of the tires being bad- defective, worn, dryrotted, suspension problems, bad shocks/struts, bubble present, nails or debris stuck in the sidewall, alignment issue, etc. Sometimes you not only have to replace your tires- but you have to fix the “cause” of the tire ware.
3. Price is important to us all, what is the best deal you can get me on my tires? BIG question to ask- have them get you 3 different tire options, good- medium and best. Every manufacture offers a warranty on their tires from 20k miles to 60k miles. Obviously the better the warranty the higher the price, right? Wrong, there are some really good imported tires that come with amazing warranties at fabulous prices. Make sure they do research for you!
Now, there is always a ton more information about tires than I can talk about today- but these are the basics. Now you are armed with some knowledge on what the terms will be used, and what questions you can and should ask.
Now, the WHY! Why should you replace your tires? Tires are like shoes for your vehicle. If they are in good condition, making good traction, seating properly, making noise, have holes or bubbles in them- then your car ride will not be enjoyable. Plus bad tires cause your vehicle to run harder than it should to compensate- meaning more fuel used! Kind of like the shoes we wear, if our shoes are not comfortable or are falling apart- it creates more problems for us, right? We get back pain, have low energy, don’t feel quite right, our feet and legs start hurting. Just remember, your vehicle has those “feelings” too.