Driving Habits That Can Kill Your Tires

An orange car is doing a burnout and kicking up smoke.

Good tires are not cheap. Even the least expensive options still represent a healthy investment for most people, so it is important that you do everything you can to extend the life of your tires to keep the cost of car ownership down.

How you drive has a big impact on the health of your tires. Poor driving habits can have you shopping frequently at tire dealers. Cincinnati is fortunate enough to have McCluskey Chevrolet, which offers exceptional prices on quality tires. However, spending zero dollars is always the best deal.

Here are a few driving habits that can shorten the life of your tires — and you should therefore avoid:

Taking Off Too Quickly

You know that sound that your tires make when you shoot off from a red light like you’re speeding off the starting line at a race track? That squealing and whining? That’s the sound of your tires spinning against the asphalt fruitlessly. Instead of the tread gripping the road and propelling your car forward, the tires are turning against the road, leaving behind bits of rubber. In fact, you’ll probably even see a long, black streak behind you if you look.

The more you take off quickly like that, the faster you will wear down your tires. The tread will thin, and the tires will lose their grip. Over time, the tires will become vulnerable to failure.

Taking Turns Too Quickly

We’ve all done it before: We’re driving along not paying attention and realize we are about to miss our turn, and we suddenly become racecar drivers taking the turn at the last second at speeds that are not entirely safe.

The problem is if you do this too often, you will wear down your tires. Just as happens when you take off too quickly, taking turns too quickly will leave rubber on the road, wearing down the tread on your tires.

Always take your time and slow down well in advance of turns. Your tires will thank you, and so will your pocketbook.

Stopping Too Quickly

Starting to notice a theme? Basically, doing anything too quickly in your car is bound to have some adverse affects on your tires, if not other components of your vehicle.

We all have to stop suddenly on occasion — after all, we can’t control everything that other drivers do. However, you should make it your policy to always stop over plenty of distance. Not only will you save your tires, but you’ll also keep your car safer (and all its inhabitants).

Tire skid marks are shown on a road.

Driving at Top Speeds

Driving at high speeds may make you feel the thrill of an adrenaline rush, but it will also wear down your tires and your car faster. At high speeds, your tires will generate a great deal of friction with the road, as well as very high heats. Prolonged exposure to high heats will soften the rubber and weaken the tire. Over time, this will put the tire at risk of failure. A blowout at high speeds can be catastrophic, significantly increasing your risk of serious injury.

Your tires have a speed rating stamped right on the side wall. Do not exceed those speeds or drive near those limits for prolonged periods of time.

Unless you’re an amateur racer with access to a weekend track, there’s really no reason for you to be putting your car through its paces anyway. Stick to safe speeds to protect your car and your tires.

Driving Heavy Loads

Your tires also have a rating for maximum weight, which is also printed on the side wall. Your tires won’t explode instantly if you exceed that weight, but they will weaken and become vulnerable to failure.

Driving with heavy loads threatens your tires in two ways: By increasing the temperatures to which your tires are exposed and by increasing the pressure inside the tires. If you find yourself regularly needing to haul heavy loads, it’s time to either buy premium tires that can handle the extra weight or to invest in a truck. Just because it can fit in your car’s trunk doesn’t mean it should.

Driving Haphazardly Over Road Debris

In an ideal world, all roads would be smooth and free of debris. Unfortunately, you are likely to find a number of unfriendly obstacles on the road, including pot holes, steel plates, uneven seams, branches, roadkill, gravel, glass and more. Even if this debris does not puncture your tire, it can cause your tires to wear down unevenly.

If you notice road debris, or if you have to drive over rocky paths or gravel, drive slowly and carefully. Avoid these obstacles as much as you can. If you know that a particular stretch of road is in poor condition, take another route until the road can be repaired.

The best driving habits for your safety are also the best driving habits for your tires. Slow down, take turns more carefully, give yourself plenty of distance to brake, and steer clear of road hazards and you’ll preserve your tires while also reducing your risk of an accident.

Tire failure doesn’t always manifest itself as a flat or a blowout. If your tires are wearing down or the seams are bulging, you may notice a rumbling as you drive, feel vibrations, or feel the car pulling to one side. When tread wears down, you may also notice that your car loses traction in water or that it takes you longer to brake.

When you are ready for new tires, it’s time to visit McCluskey Chevrolet, one of the top tire dealers Cincinnati residents trust. McCluskey Chevrolet sells a range of high-end, name brand tires for all types of vehicles and driving needs. We offer affordable prices on individual tires, as well as special offers when replacing all four tires. Our tires come with warranties that verify their longevity. Visit us today to buy the tires you need for improved performance and safety.

How to Tell Your Tires Are Worn

A mechanic is measuring tread depth on a tire at a tire dealer in Cincinnati, OH.

If you have ever wondered if it’s time to replace your tires, you’re not alone. Knowing when to replace your tires is important because the tread on your tires helps with the safety, performance, and efficiency of your car. We are all guilty of driving habits that can kill our tires. Eventually, your tires will wear down to a point where you should replace them before they lose their traction and ability to stop your car. If your tires are worn, they may be unable to handle weather conditions like snow or rain. They can also cause damage to other parts of your vehicle, and, in many states, having insufficient tread is illegal. But how do you know when it’s time to head to the tire shop? No one wants to replace their tires too early, but then you definitely don’t want to wait too long. So we thought we would go over a few tips to help you know what to look for.

The easiest way to check your tire tread is to find a penny and insert it into the grooves of your tire tread. You will want to make sure President Lincoln’s head is pointed down. If any part of his head is hidden by the tire tread, your tires are fine. If not, it’s time to replace your tires. The problem with this method, however, is that it is not always accurate. Some conditions may require more tread depth. The issue is not so much the lack of tread depth, but the conditions you will be driving in. Lincoln’s head sits at about 2/32”, which is enough traction on dry roads, but might not be enough for your tread pattern to displace the water on the road.

When water collects on roadways, lots of variables are at work: the water depth, vehicle speed and weight, and the tread design and depth. Together these variables determine if your vehicle will hydroplane on the road and how quickly the vehicle can stop. While 2/32” is a good general guide, be aware that this means your tires are worn down to the tread bar and might not have worn evenly everywhere on the tire.

To be safe, especially if wet roads are a concern, you should replace your tires at 4/32” for maximum stopping power. This will allow enough tread depth for the rain to escape through the tire’s grooves. If snow is a concern in your area, then we would recommend replacing them at 5/32”. You can also use a tread depth indicator for a more accurate measurement.

Get Your Tires Inspected

When you think it might be time for new tires, bring them to McCluskey Chevy to be inspected. That way you’ll know for sure if your tires are a safety hazard. Our expert service professionals are happy to take a look and give you the peace of mind you deserve. We know how difficult it can be to tell if it’s time for a new set of tires—and we know how expensive a new set of tires can be. Which is why it’s important to have a professional inspect your tires. You want to be sure you do not let your tread depth get dangerously low, and you don’t want to spend money on new tires if your current set is perfectly fine.

McCluskey Chevy has been servicing vehicles for many, many years, and is a proud member of our Cincinnati community, so you know we will always give you an honest answer. We love to give back to the community and show how much we appreciate our customers. We are always striving to provide the utmost in customer service and by providing the highest quality tires—and highest quality service—at the best value around. At McCluskey Chevy, our team will thoroughly inspect your tires, and if it’s time for a new set, we’ll help you select the very best tire choice for your particular budget, road condition considerations, weather issues, as well as your vehicle.

A closeup of a tire shows that there are dry rot cracks in the tire.

Check for Dry Rot

Like anything, tires degrade over time. This process is called dry rot; as a tire ages or if it is regularly exposed to harmful substances or conditions, it begins to break down. Oils and chemicals in the rubber compound evaporate due to UV exposure. The rubber loses its flexibility and will begin to crack at the surface, not unlike a rubber band. The surface becomes more and more brittle and will eventually lead to sidewall damage and failure. It’s good to replace your tires at the first sign of dry rot to prevent blowouts. What is happening to your tire is the dry rot is causing the rubber to expand unnaturally, which breaks the tire apart. Tires with dry rot are more likely to lose air or develop leaks, holes, and blowouts. So let’s go over what you should be looking for when you check your tires for dry rot.

Dry rot is also known as sidewall cracking, primarily characterized by visible cracks in the rubber. Here are common signs that your tires have dry rot:

  1. Your tires look brittle. As the oils leech out of the tires, the surface will look brittle and may even be breaking away from the tire.
  2. The tread may be cracking. If the tread is cracking and you can see small cracks on the edges of your tread, it’s time to replace your tires as this will affect the handling of your vehicle.
  3. There are cracks on the sidewall. Cracks on the sidewall are a sign that your tires are rapidly aging and should be inspected by a professional.
  4. Your tires are faded. If your tires are more grey than black, that’s an early sign of dry rot. You should bring your vehicle in to have your tires inspected at the first sign of dry rot. At McCluskey Chevy, our trained professionals are happy to inspect your tires and let you know whether or not your tires are safe to drive with.

Check Tire Pressure

Tire pressure may not seem like something as important as dry rot or tread depth, but it really does have an effect on your vehicle’s safety and performance. As a rule, it’s good to check your tire pressure once every month. This will ensure that your tires are wearing evenly and that your tires are in good shape. The reason tire pressure is so important is that when properly inflated, the weight of the vehicle is distributed evenly across the tire’s tread. When over-inflated or under-inflated, the tire loses stability, which affects the vehicle’s handling and stopping ability. Over time the tire will also wear unevenly, leading to potentially unsafe driving conditions. Not only is this unsafe, but it’s costly in other ways too, as your tires will wear out faster and need to be replaced sooner.
You can tell if your tires are over-inflated by looking at how the tires are wearing. If they are wearing on the outside edge of the tread, they are under-inflated. If they are showing wear down the middle of the tread, they are most likely over-inflated. Over-inflated tires can lose traction easily due to the shape of the tire, and are more prone to damage, while under-inflated tires will have performance issues and lose the safety features built into the tire.