Drivers are often familiar with road safety, but may neglect to provide that same care and awareness to their tires. When a vehicle doesn’t have the correct tires or aren’t properly cared for, there’s an increased chance that the tires could cause an accident on the road. A tire failure while driving often causes severe injuries because it’s difficult to maintain control of the vehicle.
Even if you weren’t involved in a car accident, you should brush up on your tire safety and maintenance knowledge so you know you’re doing everything to be as safe as possible on the road. This guide will help you get an idea of the correct tires for your vehicle and how to properly take care of them.
Before Buying Tires
There are a few signs you should look for to determine if you need new tires or not. If the tires have any of the following characteristics, you should look into getting new tires:
- Worn tread
- Cracked sidewalls
You should also inspect your tires for signs of uneven wear because this could be a result of your car’s condition. If the tires weren’t aligned correctly or if your car’s suspension is off, the future tires that you purchase will also have the same issues.
A Look at the Different Types of Tires
You should have a clear idea of what kind of tires best suits your needs before purchasing them. A couple of things you need to take into account are where you live and the weather conditions that you drive in.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) breaks down the categories for tires:
- All-Season Tires. These tires will perform in varied road conditions. They are okay in snow and mud, but not the best.
- All-Terrain Tires. Typically used by four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain tires can drive on and off-road.
- Winter Tires. If you drive in deep snow, these are the tires for you. They’ll do better in snow than all-season tires.
- Summer Tires. These tires are meant for warm weather and should not be used in snow, ice, of when the temperature drops below freezing.
You’ll also need to choose the best tires for your vehicle, such as car, truck, or SUV tires. Your owner’s manual or Tire and Loading Information Label will indicate the correct size tire for your car as well.
The next item to take into consideration is the tire’s treadwear grade. This tells you the relative wear rate of the tire. When the number is higher, the tire will take more time to wear down. For people who are constantly on the road, it’s a good idea to get tires that won’t wear down easily.
The grades are 200 and below, 201-300, 301-400, 401-500, 501-600, and above 600. Most tires usually fall in the 201-300, 301-400, and 401-500 categories.
In addition to treadwear, you’ll also need to know about the tire’s traction. Traction grades reflect how the tires stop on wet pavement. When the tires have higher grades, they will stop at a shorter distance on wet pavement than a tire with a lower grade. The grades are “AA,” “A,” “B,” and “C,” with “AA” being the highest grade. Most tires typically have the “A” grade.
Your tires should also be suitable for the temperatures you’re driving in. When people drive in hot weather for long periods of time, their tires can deteriorate more quickly and possibly cause a blowout—which can cause an accident.
Tire heat resistance is graded from A-C, with A being able to withstand high temperatures. Most tires are typically “A.”
The Importance of Maintaining New Tires
After getting new tires, it’s important to take care of them so you can be confident that you’re driving safely. You also save money because you won’t have to replace your tires as often.
You should regularly check that your tires are the correct pressure. Incorrect pressure could lead to a flat tire while you’re driving.
They also need to be rotated and aligned. When tires aren’t rotated or are misaligned, part of the tread wears down more quickly than the others. This could make the tire fail and possibly cause an accident.
Shrager & Sachs Is Here for You
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