Staying Safe With the Right Tires

April 15th, 2020 by

Two racks of tires are shown in a Cincinnati, OH, Tire shop.

Here at McCluskey Chevy, we are your local tire shop. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have bought your car from us. We service all makes and models. Because after you drive your vehicle off the lot, wherever that lot may have been located, you need to take proper care of it. That means oil changes, following the recommended maintenance schedule, and, yes, investing in new tires. New tires are an added expense, but a necessary one.

Over time, the rubber on your tires will not only start to wear down, but will crack, chip, and fall apart. You may even see strange abnormalities like bubbles. If you see a bubble, visit us immediately. But even if your tire is just wearing out, it is important to replace it, as it keeps you and everyone else on the road safe. But when should you have your tires changed out? Here is everything you need to know.

Understanding the Life of Your Tire

Modern tires, at least quality tires, should last you at least five years. Of course, there are always issues that can arise, like blowing a tire while driving over a nail or hitting a pothole. Those are issues you can’t account for. However, as long as you don’t sustain any kind of damage like that, a quality tire should last you at least five years. Now, that will depend on how often you drive it, but if you drive around 10,000 miles or so, the tread on your tire will last those five years, given you regularly rotate your tires.

It is a good idea to have your tires rotated whenever you change the oil. If you come in and see us for an oil change, we’ll rotate the tires for you. If you take your car to the quick drive-through oil change locations, you should ask to have your tires changed as well (which is why we generally recommend taking your vehicle into a shop instead of the quick turn-out locations). This will help ensure all your tires wear the same. If you don’t rotate your tires, they will wear differently. Your front wheels control turning, and as such, will be impacted by the road differently. Rotating the tires does take a few extra minutes, but it will extend the life of every single tire.

After the five years, you should have your tires inspected whenever you bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance. This should happen at least once a year, if not more frequently. Many tires are designed to last longer than five years, but that is under perfect road conditions. And as you know, the roads are not always perfect.

At the ten-year mark, if you have been able to squeeze a full decade out of your tires congrats! Not many people can do that, but you did while remaining safe and having your tires inspected at least annually. At this point, though, you should have the tires replaced. Rubber will start to break down, and after ten years, there’s just no telling when your tires might finally give up their ghost. So, at this point, it’s time to swap them out. This goes for that spare as well. Even if the tires have not been used to drive, a decade of exposure is enough to break down and reduce the structural integrity of the tire.

Replacing the Tires

A mechanic is replacing a tire on a blue car.

Just because your tires haven’t popped or exploded yet doesn’t mean the rubber is safe to drive with. You need to know when it is time to have the tires replaced. The best way to do that is with the classic coin test. Now, you’ve probably heard of the penny test, but that’s not that accurate, because the distance between the top of a penny and Abe’s intact forehead isn’t much at all. Especially if you drive through rain, mud, snow, or anything other than pristine road conditions. Instead, you need to use a quarter. That gives you a more accurate test. However, do keep in mind every tire is different. If you still have the manufacturer’s paperwork on the tire, you will be able to know the exact depth at which the manufacturer recommends having the tires replaced if you don’t have the paperwork use the quarter test.

You can perform some basic visual inspections of your tires as well. Sure, a mechanic can get under the car and see more of the tire than you’re able to, but with the help of a flashlight, you can get a pretty good look at the state of your tire. You’ll want to look for any uneven tread, significantly shallow tread, damage to the valve cap, or damage to the tire in general (such as nails stuck in the tire or chunks missing).

What Causes Tire Wear and Tear

A mechanic is inspecting a tire for wear in a Cincinnati tire shop.

Your tires will go through regular wear and tear. That’s why the tires are replaceable. However, there are a few ways you can extend the life of your tires. First, you need to maintain proper air pressure. Most new cars now have air pressure sensors built-in, informing you of a tire that isn’t inflated all the way. Even if you don’t have a tire pressure monitor in your vehicle, you can purchase a pressure gauge at your local grocery store for a few bucks (there are plenty of great videos online that explain how to use it, or we can always show you how to use it). Inflate your tire to the recommended level and never over-inflate. That is just as bad for your tires.

While driving, you want to try and avoid potholes, and drive slowly over speed bumps. If your wheel looks damaged, you should replace the wheels; otherwise, it can wear on the tire and cause it to pop or wear improperly. You should also make sure to have your tires rotated during an oil change.

When you wash your car, you should wash your tires as well. This will remove the gunk that might be stuck to the tires, such as oil, road salt, or other chemicals. If you perform some of your own auto maintenance, you’ll want to avoid spilling some of the car fluids on the tire. For example, if you are changing the brake fluid, you need to make sure and not spill the brake fluid on the tires. Or, if you’re replacing the brakes, rotors, or calipers, you need to avoid any of the cleaners or paint from coming in contact with the tires as that might eat away at some of the rubber. Whatever you do, with proper maintenance, you’ll protect your tires and extend the life of each.

Come See Us for Your Tire Needs

Here at McCluskey Chevy, we want to help make sure you are safe in your vehicle. The best way to do that is with proper maintenance, which includes updating your tires. By properly taking care of your tires, you may be able to squeeze five to ten years of life out of them. But even if that isn’t the case, we are here to help you with rotating, maintaining, and updating your tires. From snow tires to summer tires and everything else in between, when it comes to keeping your vehicle safe, come visit us at McCluskey Chevy, your local tire shop and Chevy dealer.

Posted in Tire Shop