Vehicle maintenance is vital for safe driving whether you run a pickup truck for work or a station wagon for family life. Maintenance isn’t just about changing the oil and topping up the water, and vehicle safety isn’t just about buckling up, driving slowly and taking care on the road. Making sure your car’s tires have the right air pressure and have enough tread left on them maintains your car and makes it safe to drive, but there are other things you have to do with your tires, particularly if you live in a part of America that faces changeable weather conditions.
All-weather tires get bad press. They’re accused of giving too little grip in the wet and snow and offering poor performance in the dry. They’re inefficient in all conditions so you’ll use more fuel when your vehicle sits on these tires, but does that tell the whole story? It doesn’t, because this type of tire offers convenience because you won’t need to switch them each season. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with an all-weather tire from a recognized brand but each tire maker produce rubber that has different strengths and weaknesses. Read reviews on each and you’ll find the tire that works best with the weather conditions your car faces throughout the year.
Are the cheapest tires worth buying or are they a false economy? If your tires wear out more quickly and you’re replacing them more often, shouldn’t you buy a trusted brand? That’s a tough question to answer because tire wear depends on so many factors, some of which the driver can influence. For example, poorly inflated tires will wear more quickly than those with the correct pressure in them, and your driving style can also burn out the tire. If the wheel’s camber is misalignment because of sagging springs, worn ball joints, or worn control arm bushings, you might find one of your tires wearing out before the others which you could have prevented by taking better care of the car.
Underinflating the Tires
If your tires are as little as six psi under the recommended amount, their life can reduce by as much as 25 percent. Your tires will also deflect as they roll meaning that less of the contact patch will be in touch with the road. This will cause a buildup of heat in the tires and increase rolling resistance which will make your gas mileage drop by as much as five percent. Stability in the corners will also be affected and the car’s steering will be less precise so you’ll lose performance as well as economy.
Overinflating the Tires
Let’s take a look at what happens when you overinflate your tires by the six psi we considered before. This makes the tires stiffer so if you run over a pothole, there’s more chance you’ll damage the tire. You can expect a more responsive car when you turn into a corner and the vehicle will be more stable but we still don’t recommend that you overinflate them. Checking them regularly with an air gauge will prevent over or under inflation occurring.
Best Tire Deals
Even if you’ve decided to avoid the cheapest tires on the market, you’ll want to get a great deal on your new rubber. There’s no magic to it but a little work is needed. Decide on what tire brand you’re going to buy, do your homework on the tire’s price and availability and then phone around to get some quotes from discount tire dealers. When you’ve got some prices, check out the best deals online and then buy with confidence. Since tires aren’t a commodity you buy very often, take your time and get a great deal.
What’s the Difference?
A quality brand should produce tires that wear better than cheap rubber. High-quality tires should also give you better gas mileage and higher grip so the extra dollars they cost will come back to you through fuel economy and better durability, and you’ll be driving a car that performs better. But those factors can disappear if you don’t look after your tires well, which you can do by adjusting your driving style and keeping the tires at the correct air pressure.