When you're looking for tires, you'll hear all kinds of claims for mileage that may be, well, a bit overinflated.
But the fact of the matter is your tires are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on your car. You want to get the best tires you can find. Then, you want to take good care of them. Doing this will not only protect you and your family in the event of an emergency, but it can also save you time and money.
The Aging Process
Your tires may not look in the mirror every day worrying about finding that first gray bead, but they do age — and a bald spot is a distinct possibility. In any case, it's critical for you to monitor tire wear and aging.
Tires are produced by bonding rubber to woven fabric or steel mesh, and regardless of the latest secrets to emerge from the lab, tires begin to age the moment they touch the road surface. Four or five decades ago, 20,000 miles was a good lifetime for tires. Today, with proper care, your tires may live to the ripe old age of 40,000 to 80,000 miles or more.
7 Steps for Proper Tire Care
- Perform regular inspections
- Check tread depth with a coin
- Maintain proper inflation
- Rotate as needed
- Ensure proper alignment
- Avoid road hazards
- Drive intelligently
Take a close look —A good habit to get into is to notice your tires every time you drive. Do they look properly inflated? Is the tread adequate? See any damage from any road hazards? Also pay attention to unusual vibrations or "pulling" when you drive — these may be indications of trouble as well.
Penny for your thoughts —Use a penny to check for tread wear. New tires have grooves that are about 9/32" deep. This depth can process a lot of standing water, slush or snow on the road surface. Place a penny headfirst into the grooves on your tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, you have less than 2/32" of tread left. Consider replacing the worn tires — especially if winter is on the way.
Don't blow the inflation — Studies have found that the vast majority of cars on the road have underinflated tires. For the typical driver who drives 12,000 miles a year, this can require up to 140 gallons or so of extra gas — or $500 to $600 annually to operate your car. Check the inflation of your tires when cold on a regular basis and keep them inflated to manufacturer's recommendations. Also, consider using nitrogen rather than air for more consistent inflation — Borelli Motor Sports has nitrogen available onsite.
Taking their turn upfront — Front tires wear faster than rear tires due to friction created by every turn of the steering wheel. To extend the life of your tires and ensure safe driving, tires need to be rotated front to rear several times during their lifecycle.
Finding the right angle — A car's alignment is determined by the angles of the steering system and suspension. Cars that are out-of-alignment will cause tires to wear unevenly. This can create unsafe conditions and necessitate replacement of your tires more frequently. Even if alignments meet factory specs, the ones most tire retailers do simply aren't adequate. You need precise alignments using digital imaging plus suspension tuning to truly ensure the safety of your family and maximize tire wear and performance.
Watch out for potholes — With tight government budgets, potholes and other road hazards are everywhere. It goes without saying that hitting a deep pothole or a curb can ruin your alignment or cause a flat tire. Be prepared, and use proper avoidance maneuvers when needed.
Be street smart — Saratoga Avenue isn't the Monaco layout. And Highway 101 isn't the Indianapolis Speedway. Burning rubber at green lights, stopping with a screech and testing the physics behind centripetal and centrifugal forces when cornering may all subtract years from your tires' life — and all too often, from yours as well!
Borelli Motor Sports Knows Tires and Wheels
Borelli Motor Sports technicians truly understand tires and wheels. We have the sophisticated equipment such as a ground-level, drive-on alignment rack with digital imaging, computer-based suspension tuning, touch-less tire mounting, and nitrogen inflation to ensure that your tires will safely carry their load any time of the year — from the hottest summers to the rainiest winters.
To learn more about care for your tires or have them checked by our techs during your next service, e-mail Addison Lee, General Manager, or call him at (408) 770-1220.