Everything You Need to Know About Tires

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Tires are the most essential component of your car. They quite literally keep you going and are critical to your fuel economy and safety. 60% of people can’t change a flat tire, and nearly two-thirds of Canadians use winter tires. If you own a car, having a basic knowledge of tires is important so you know when they need to be replaced and what type is best for your vehicle.

When Should Tires be Replaced?

Your tires should be rotated at the same time you receive an oil change. Usually, manufacturers recommend this every six months or 12,000 kilometres. In doing so, you prevent your tires from unevenly wearing due to your specific driving patterns. Tires should be inspected annually and replacement considered as a serious option once they’ve been used for five years. 10 years is the absolute maximum lifespan for tires, as beyond this point, they are unsafe. Proper maintenance extends the lifetime of your tires, which are costly if they need to be replaced frequently.

What Are the Proper Tire Maintenance Steps?

Maintaining optimal tire pressure is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your tires. With uneven pressure, you increase the amount of traction your car has with a surface, resulting in reduced fuel economy. To check tire pressure, you will first need to purchase a tire pressure gauge from your local hardware store. This gage fits around the opening of the tire valve, where air is inserted and provides you with a reading. Tire pressure is dependent on your specific car type and tires, so check the manual to ensure you are inflated at the correct amount. A tire that is inflated above the recommended pressure has the potential to pop, which is extremely dangerous. Keep in mind that every time you use a pressure gauge, a small amount of air will escape the tire, so try not to do it too often. In the event that you are low on tire pressure, go to a local gas station that has air hoses available.

Inspect your tires at the end of every season to check for any tears, cracks, or foreign objects that have punctured the tires. To ensure your tires are safe, you should also inspect tread depth by conducting a “nickel test”. Place the coin with Queen Elizabeth’s crown facing downward between the tire’s grooves. If you are able to see her crown, you tire’s tread has worn out and you will need to purchase new tires.

Types of Tires

There are many different types of tires, depending on the model of your car, but generally, they can be broken down into the following categories:

Summer Tires: These are usually used for high-performance vehicles that seek speed and agility. They have specialized tread patterns that allow for increased responsiveness and braking.
All-Season Tires: The name says it all! These tires work in wet and dry conditions, ideal for those who experience a mild winter climate.
Winter Tires: These tires are designed for harsh winter conditions, with aggressive tread blocks that provide grip on snow and ice. They aren’t made for consistent temperatures above seven degrees, so be sure to remove them in the spring.

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