Category: Tires

Rubber Match (Tire Replacement)

A set of new tires isn’t probably high on anyone’s list of exciting purchases.  But since your life is literally riding on them, it’s probably a good idea to know when it’s time for you to buy new ones.

If you’ve been feeling your vehicle slipping more in wet weather or it takes a longer distance to stop, those are a couple of signs you may need new rubber all around. Here’s how to make your decision.

First thing to do is look at your tires.  The surface of the tire that contacts the road is the tread. When that tire was new, the tread was deep (the grooves in the rubber that provide traction). If they’re starting to look somewhat smooth, you have a seriously worn tire that definitely needs replacing.  Bring your vehicle in for us to look at your tires and we can check your tread with a tread gauge.

Also look at the sides of your tires.  If they have cuts or cracks in them, or if you see signs of bulges or scrapes made by hitting curbs or potholes, those could be signs of serious damage. 

Keep an eye on your tire pressure monitors.  If you notice one or more of your tires showing frequent pressure changes, that needs to be checked out. 

One other thing you probably didn’t know is that your tires all have birthdays, and they’re printed on each sidewall.  When you bring your vehicle in for us to inspect your tires, we can tell you how old they are. That’s important because rubber deteriorates with age, even if they don’t have that many miles on them.  Tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires when they reach a certain age, usually from six to ten years old. 

Now the question is, which tires should you buy? That’s one for your service adviser who can recommend replacements based on your driving style, the model of vehicle you own, where you drive most often, and other factors. 

Oh, and if you want your new set of tires to last as long as possible, remember to have them rotated regularly, keep the right pressure, and don’t drive aggressively. 

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com

No Fountain of Youth (Aging Tires)

Can you think of anyone who enjoys aging?  Wrinkles where you don’t want them, gray hair, eyes that won’t focus any more, no stamina. 

Believe it or not, your tires age, too, and they don’t get better the older they get.  And here’s the important thing to know, even if they can still pass a tread depth test, they may simply be too old to be safe 

Here’s the best way to understand this.  Have you ever found an old deck of playing cards with a rubber band wrapped around them?  Try stretching the rubber band.  SNAP! It’s all cracked and brittle.  And you haven’t stressed that rubber one bit since the time you put them in that drawer.

Now you know what’s happening to your tires.  Rubber ages.  Just like us, the day we come into the world, we start to go downhill (no pun intended).  Oh, engineers are able to make a tire last longer than ever before.  But that gas that keeps us alive—oxygen—seems to love to chemically mix with some components in rubber.  Oxidation causes rubber to become hard and brittle.  The rubber band test.

Is there an age test that can tell you when a tire is tool old to roll? Well, not really.  They don’t all age the same.  Hot climates can make tires wear out more quickly.  Some experts say a tire can last up to 10 years but should be inspected every year after the age of five.  Others say tires should have an expiration date at six years old.

Since no one would ever ask a tire its age, how do you know how old one is? Believe it or not, tires made after the year 2000 have a date code stamped on either the inside or the outside of the sidewall.  It’s a four-digit numbers; the first two tell you the week, the second two tell you the year. So if it has the number 1916, it was made in the 21st week of 2016. 

Another way to find out if your tires still have enough life in them is to have your vehicle service facility inspect them.  They look for signs of age, such as developing cracks in the rubber, the condition of the sidewalls and, of course, that old standby: tread.  If it’s time to “retire” them, discuss options with your service advisor.

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com

How Tired Are Your Tires? (Tire replacement)

Of the things you think about most, your tires are probably pretty far down the list. That’s understandable because today’s tires are engineered to do their job without needing you to pay too much attention to them. But they DO wear out, and worn tires can contribute to skidding in bad weather, not being able to stop, a ride full of uncomfortable vibrations and, even a sudden blowout. Yikes. Let’s figure out right now how to know if your tires need replacing!

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t know the first thing about tires. So, the best way to make sure what shape yours are in is to take your vehicle to a qualified service facility to have the tires checked out by a trained technician.  Here are things they’ll check:

  • Tread.  Tread is the part of the tire that touches the road surface.  Different tires have different tread patterns and something called tread blocks – the raised rubber parts that contact the road. The longer a tire has been on a vehicle, the more of that rubber wears off.  The technician will check to see if there’s enough of that tread left on your tire for sufficient traction to accelerate, steer, and brake.
  • Pressure. It’s important your tires be inflated properly so your tires will perform the way they’re designed while driving.  If your tires have low air pressure, the technician will check to see why, perhaps cracks in the sidewall from age, a nail in the rubber picked up on the road, or bulges. It’s also important your tires are not overinflated too.
  • Wear.  Your tires should wear evenly.  If they haven’t, the uneven wear can cause vibrations that you can feel in the steering wheel.  Maybe the whole vehicle shakes at a certain speed.  Your vehicle may require other services such as balancing, alignment, or suspension repairs to prevent future tire damage.
  • Age.  Your tires may have adequate tread, but if they’re too old, it’s time for new. Rubber gets old, and when it does, it loses its elasticity.  Ever find an old rubber band and tried to stretch it? It’s brittle and will break easily. Hotter climates will age rubber—and tires—faster. All tires have their date of manufacture stamped on them, so your service adviser will be able to see when your tires were made.

If it’s time to replace your tires, you’ll find you have many choices for new ones: different brands, models, designs, etc.  Your service adviser can help you figure out which ones are right for you. It’s much better—and safer—to do it before one of them fails at the least opportune time.

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com