Tires are the only part of your car that (should) make contact with the road. We often underestimate their role, but they determine the driving experience that you have. In fact, damaged tires can be extremely dangerous and may even cost you your life. This is why it is really important to frequently check the condition of your tires so that you remain safe.
Here are some key tire tips that you definitely need to know:
Choose the Right Size
Tires generally last 3-4 years with the average driving being 12,000-15,000 miles per year. If you don’t know the actual size, you can look at the number located on the sidewalls of your current tires. An example of how a number sequence will display is something like this:
P265/70R16 (265= tires width in millimeters, 70= tires sidewall height is 70% of its width, R= how the tire was contrasted, 99% of tires have this, and 16= rim size).
Another way to find out the right size of tires for your car is to read the owner’s manual, or any local dealer/national chain can look up by your VIN number to match the appropriate size.
Choose the Right Type
Because of their black color and symmetric treads, all tires might look and feel the same. However, they are all designed differently and for different purposes. To decide which tires will be perfect for you, consider the weather of where you live.
If you live somewhere with four seasons, your best bet is to invest in all-weather tires. They are middle of the road tires in terms of performance and have the most traction in various weather conditions. If you reside in a relatively cold area, then you should go for softer winter tires. These winter tires provide extra grip on slippery surfaces, especially on surfaces with snow. However, if you live in a region where cold weather is not common, then the best choice is relatively stiffer summer tires.
Choose ‘New Born’ Tires
Another important tip that you should be aware of is how to check the age of your tires. Manufacturers have a printed code on the sidewalls of the tires indicating their age. It is a four-digit code that begins with a dot and is followed by the week and year of manufacturing.
Here is an example to understand this concept. If the code on your tires displays ‘0814,’ then it means the tires were manufactured in the 8th week of 2014. So, make sure to check this ‘birthday code’ of tires prior to your purchase.
Learn the Lingo
When you are out shopping for a new set of tires, you will come across many tempting options, such as “high performance” tires. Just keep in mind that these high-performance tires are designed for cars that are used in races or have a need for speed and are not necessary for your average commute. Many sports cars come standard with high-performance tires, however, they are not the best for wet or wintery conditions. They can also be four times as expensive as “all weather” tires and not last as long.
The Penny Test
The penny test is one of the easiest ways to find out whether you need to replace your tires or not. All you have to do is take a penny and place it between the tread of the tire. Make sure that Lincoln’s head is pointing towards the center of the tire. If you observe the head is partially hidden, then it is a clear indication that you need new tires.