7 Ways You Can Make Your Tires Last Longer

Flat-Tyre1Let’s face it, the cost of tires is not low, especially if you are buying new and not used. The price is even higher if you are buying specialized or performance tires. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do to help make your tires last longer.

 

  1. Store your vehicle in a temperature-controlled garage. The life span of a tire will be made shorter by temperature swings, UV exposure, ozone exposure, and ice/snow exposure.

  2. Maintain your tires every 3 weeks. Check your tire pressure, check your tire’s tread wear, and check for cracks and scrapes in the sidewall. Then, address any of these issues promptly should they come about.

  3. Rotate Your Tires. Make sure to have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles. This will ensure even wear throughout each of your tires. Uneven wear can lead to premature tread wear, an increased chance for a flat, and more. At Jacks Tire Shop, if you buy four or more tires (new OR used), you get free tire rotations for one whole year.

  4. Check Balance/Alignment. To ensure even wear and longer lasting tires, make sure to have your tires balanced and aligned. You should do this when you get your tires rotated because unless you have a specialized machine, you cannot do this yourself.

  5. Avoid Road Hazards. Driving at a safe rate of speed and keeping an eye on the road will help you avoid potholes. Of course, slowing down and running over a shallow pothole is better than veering into oncoming traffic, but do what you can to avoid running over potholes and other hazards (rocks, curbs, etc) in the road that could puncture your tire.

  6. Clean your Tires. When you clean the sidewalls of your tires, you are removing excess dirt and debris that could be aging your tire, promoting dry rot.

  7. Drive Smart. Accelerating quickly, slowing down quickly, sudden stops, spinning your wheels, drifting, and fast turns are not only unsafe, they also cause heavy wear on your tires. Why do you think race cars make pit stops to change tires several times in one race?

 

What do you do to help your tires last longer?

 

Do I Need Winter Tires?

     It’s August 26th. The endless hot and humid summer days are starting to dissipate and hoodies at night are coming back. The summer is dying. I know, it’s horrible news, but it’s true. Good news? Pumpkin spice lattes. But I’m not here to wax poetic about the changing colors of the leaves or the crunch of frosty grass underfoot, I am here today to talk about winter tires — also known as snow tires. The cold weather is coming!

 

     Winter/snow tires don’t look drastically different than regular tires: they have much wider, deeper grooves in the tread. They also have softer rubber which allows the tire to expand more easily in frigid temperatures. However, the handling, acceleration, and braking is drastically different in winter and snow tires vs. all-season tires. The most common misconception about winter tires is that they are most efficient in the snowy northeast. This is not entirely untrue, but in climates where icing is more common than snow (like here in the beautiful city of Richmond, Virginia), winter tires are much more helpful. They prevent slippage on ice. Driving on snow is easier and safer than driving on ice. So whether you face plentiful snow or nasty black ice in the town you live in, please consider investing in winter tires for months in which the average temperature is 7 degrees celsius or below (check out our handy infographic).

Tire-Performance-vs-Temp     Most cars and trucks are factory-outfitted with all-season tires, which work well in a wide range of weather and temperatures. Ice and snow, however, are not within this range. Therefore, even if you have an all wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicle, you will need winter tires during the winter. Another big no no: only replacing one or two of your all-season tires with snow tires. This will cause uneven wear on your tires, put unnecessary and unbalanced strain on your axles, and possibly cause serious problems with your alignment. Always, ALWAYS, replace all 4 tires with winter tires. Most auto body shops or tire shops provide inexpensive winter tire storage for a minimal fee, so you can switch them back and forth as often as you wish.

Tire Recycling Idea FAIL

Tires540     In the 1970’s, tire recycling technology was not really in place like it is today. Tires ended up in landfills, so environmentalists came up with a plan to recycle nearly 2 million old tires: Dump them into the water to create an “artificial reef” (what?).  The official name of this particular tire reef off the coast of Florida is the Osborne Reef. Obviously, the plan didn’t work: fish weren’t attracted to the tires and coral didn’t grow on the tires. The only thing the tires ended up doing was migrating with strong storms and damaging the existing actual reef and coral life. Today, this 40-year-old problem is on it’s way to being solved, as the US Military is turning this unique problem into a win/win situation for the City of Fort Lauderdale; they are training military personnel who need diving certification by having them dive down and pick up the tires as part of the training process. This exercise is protecting the actual reef and coral life that exists there from their watery grave, about 1 mile from the shore.

Check out this video to see the tire reef for yourself!

Whitewall Tires

31RgU6n1L6LI first heard of whitewall tires in 2008 when I bought a retro-looking Genuine Buddy Scooter. Among other features, the special model I purchased boasted white wall tires. They were cool looking and complimented the retro look that the scooter model was going for. Today, you can most commonly find aftermarket whitewall tires on vintage automobiles and trucks from the 1940’s-1970’s. Today, whitewall tires are considered sleek and are more expensive than regular ties. Back in the day, however, whitewall tires were the norm and were actually developed before all-black tires. This is why whitewalls are closely associated with older model vehicles. When the first all-black tires became available, they were considered the ‘premiere’ tire and more desirable than today’s more expensive whitewall tires (reverse to today’s trends).

Today, all available whitewall tires are aftermarket. The last factory whitewalls were installed in the Lincoln Town Car which halted production in 2010. To my surprise, even a thin stripe (less than an inch thick) on the wall of a tire qualifies it as being a “whitewall” tire. A white ring on the side wall of the tire can range from 3/8” thick to over 3″ thick. In addition to white, you can also get a gold stripe or colored stripe on the wall of your tires (red, blue, yellow, green).

 

Random Tire News This Week:

Cool Tire Prototypes Win Design Awards

Screenshot 2015-08-17 at 3.07.20 PM

We think these Hankook Tires are VERY cool, and all three won prestigious awards this week at the Red Dot Design Awards as well as the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). Check out the “Boostrac”, the “Alpine”, and the “hyBlade”:

Baby Born At Tire Shop

A healthy baby was born this week in an Arizona tire shop when a couple stopped in to ask for directions to the nearest hospital. The woman started giving birth right then and there, and fortunately a registered nurse happened to be at the scene per chance. We don’t have registered nurses here. The closest hospital is on Robinson and Grove about five blocks away.

Explaining the Letters and Numbers in Tire Sizes

tiresizedetailsThe numbers and letters that make up tire sizes might seem random, but each letter and digit has a specific meaning. European sizes might read a little bit different, so the following information is in regard to American tire sizes.

P195-65-R15

I use the tire size P195-65-R15 as an example because it’s the most common size that we carry. The ‘P’ that comes before the number series stands for “Passenger” — meaning a passenger vehicle. Sometimes you will find other letters before tire sizes such as “LT” (light truck). LT tires require more inflation and a higher PSI than P tires.

The first three numbers in a series refer to the tire width, in millimeters. This is measured from the widest point on each tire wall to the opposite side.

The second set of numbers, two digits, refers to tires’ aspect ratio in percentage, which is the ratio of the cross-section of a tire’s height to it’s width. If the aspect ratio is 65, this means that the tire’s height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width.

After this two digit number is a letter, typically ‘R’. This stands for radial and refers to the direction that the layers run across a tire (radially). Personally, I have never come across a tire with anything other than R in this place.

The last two digits refer to the size of the wheel or rim. A 15” rim will only fit a tire that has a 15 in this place. This is one factor that cannot be varied when replacing your tire, unless you are buying new wheels or rims.

Sometimes you will find other letters or numbers in a tire size, like a “Z” or an “X”. This is usually referring to the speed rating or the load index of that tire.

 

Fill ‘er Up! Nitrogen vs. Compressed Air

NitrogenFor several years now, the tires of professional drivers, construction equipment, airplanes, and military vehicles have been filled with nitrogen over standard compressed air… and today, more and more people are filling the tires of their personal vehicles up with nitrogen as well. Why is nitrogen so much better than compressed air, which is 78% nitrogen anyways?

 The first reason is that nitrogen is much less likely to permeate tire walls. In air-inflated tires, air escapes through the microscopic gaps in the surface structure of the rubber, resulting in a gradual decrease in PSI, or tire pressure. Similarly, the PSI will rise and fall depending on the ambient temperature noticeably in an air-inflated tire. Both of these problems are mitigated when using nitrogen-inflated tires because nitrogen molecules are larger than air molecules. The result of this is fewer stops, air top-offs, better fuel economy, and better handling. Secondly, there is more water vapor in compressed air than in nitrogen. A common problem with air-inflated tires/wheels is that tiny droplets of water build up inside of tires, causing rims to rust and corrode and an imbalance in the tires. Nitrogen is a dry gas — water vapor will not build up inside of nitrogen-filled tires.

Is it worth it to fill your tires with oxygen? It will cost you an average of $3 to $10 to fill your car tire with oxygen. Some places offer nitrogen-fills for free with a new tire purchase. If it’s free, why not? Nitrogen saves the average driver $50 to $100 per year on fuel costs and tire repair costs. You can use this nitrogen savings calculator to weigh the estimated cost savings out for yourself.