Five Cold Weather Tire Considerations

Cold winter weather means unique and challenging conditions for our vehicles on the road. Something that is often overlooked is the impact of cold weather on tires. Ice, snow, and cold temperatures can significantly affect tire performance, traction, and overall safety. 

Cold Weather Tire Considerations

The following are five important tire related considerations to keep in mind when it comes to your vehicle’s tires during the colder months.

1. Tire Pressure

Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop, leading to under-inflation. Insufficient tire pressure can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, poor handling, and increased wear. Regularly check and maintain proper tire pressure according to your vehicle’s specifications. Keep a reliable tire pressure gauge in your vehicle so you can keep an eye on your tire inflation.

2. Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

While all-season tires are designed for various conditions, they may not perform optimally in extreme cold or snowy weather. Winter tires, on the other hand, are specifically crafted to handle low temperatures and provide superior traction on icy or snowy surfaces. If you drive in an area with consistently harsh winters, swapping out your regular tires for winter tires could significantly enhance your vehicle’s performance.

3. Tread Depth

Adequate tread depth is essential for traction and safety, especially on wet or snow-covered roads. Insufficient tread depth can result in reduced grip and increased stopping distances, which is particularly problematic in slippery conditions. Check your tires’ tread depth regularly and replace tires once the tread becomes excessively worn down.

4. Tire Rotation

Regular tire rotation helps ensure even wear across all tires. This increases the lifespan of tires and improves their overall performance. During colder months, rotating your tires becomes even more critical because it helps maintain consistent traction and handling.

5. Strategic Navigation

Cold weather can mean the potential for more hazards in the roadway in the form of ice and snow, as well as potholes and erosion of road surfaces. It is important to pay attention to these road obstructions and navigate carefully to avoid them since hitting them can easily damage tires and rims, and put your vehicle out of alignment

Paying attention to your tires during cold weather helps to ensure a safe and smooth driving experience. Regular maintenance, appropriate tire selection, and mindful driving practices can make all the difference when winter throws extra road challenges our way.

Cool Car Care Tips: 7 Winter Car Care Maintenance Services

Winter leaves your vehicle vulnerable to the harsh elements. Cold temperatures, snow, and icy conditions can take a toll on your car’s performance and longevity.

Winter Driving

To ensure your vehicle stays in top-notch condition during the winter months, here are seven essential car care maintenance services you should prioritize:

1. Battery Check

Cold weather can significantly reduce your battery’s efficiency. Make sure your battery is fully charged and have it tested to determine its overall health. If it’s nearing the end of its lifespan, consider replacing it to prevent unexpected breakdowns in freezing temperatures.

2. Tire Inspection and Rotation

Proper tire maintenance is very important for safe winter driving. Check the tread depth and inflation regularly. Rotate your tires to promote even wear and improve traction. Consider switching to winter tires for enhanced grip in icy conditions.

3. Fluid Levels and Antifreeze

Cold temperatures can cause fluids to thicken, making it challenging for your engine to operate smoothly. Check and top up essential fluids such as oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. Keep antifreeze levels sufficient to prevent the engine coolant from freezing.

4. Brake System Inspection

Responsive brakes are essential for traveling icy roads. Have your brake system inspected, including the brake pads, rotors, and fluid. Replace worn-out components promptly to maintain optimal braking performance.

5. Windshield Wiper Maintenance

Visibility is essential for safe driving, but can be a challenge due to ice and salty spray on windows. Replace worn-out wiper blades and top up windshield washer fluid with a winter-grade solution.

6. Exhaust System Check

The exhaust system is more susceptible to corrosion during winter due to salt on the roads. Inspect the exhaust system for any leaks or damage. Prompt repairs can prevent harmful fumes from entering the cabin and ensure proper engine performance.

7. Heating and Defrosting System

A functioning heating and defrosting system is essential for your comfort and safety. Check the HVAC system, including the heater, defroster, and blower, to ensure they are working efficiently. Replace cabin air filters if necessary.

By prioritizing these car care maintenance services, you’ll equip your vehicle to get through the winter months safely and reliably.

Three Essential Tire Services to Extend the Life of Your Tires

Tire service is an essential part of vehicle maintenance, since tires play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and smooth ride. Tires are subjected to significant wear and tear. Regular tire maintenance and care will significantly extend the life of your tires and optimize their performance. 

Essential Services to Extend the Life of Your Tires

The following are three easy and affordable tire services that can help you get the most out of your tires.

Wheel Alignment

Getting wheel alignment service is a great way to extend the lifespan of your tires. Misaligned wheels can lead to uneven tire wear, causing certain parts of the tire to wear out faster than others. This not only reduces the longevity of your tires but also compromises your vehicle’s handling and fuel efficiency. Regular wheel alignment ensures that your tires make consistent contact with the road, promoting even tread wear and extending their overall lifespan. Consider scheduling a wheel alignment service at least once a year or whenever you notice signs of misalignment, such as steering wheel vibrations or uneven tire wear patterns.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is another simple tire service that helps promote even tire wear. Tires on the front and rear axles of your vehicle experience different levels of stress and wear, depending on factors like weight distribution and steering. Rotating your tires regularly helps distribute this wear more evenly, extending the life of each tire. Generally, experts recommend rotating your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or as specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This not only improves tire longevity but also enhances overall vehicle performance and safety.

Wheel Balancing

Wheel balancing is also an important tire service that contributes to prolonged tire life. When your tires are unbalanced, it can result in uneven wear and negatively impact your vehicle’s handling. Over time, imbalances can lead to premature tire deterioration and reduce fuel efficiency. Professional tire balancing involves redistributing weight evenly across all tires and wheels, ensuring they wear uniformly. Include tire balancing as part of your regular maintenance routine or whenever you notice symptoms like vibrations at certain speeds. This service not only extends tire life but also enhances driving comfort and safety.

Incorporating wheel alignment, tire rotation, and balancing into your regular maintenance schedule can significantly extend the life of your tires. Investing the time and funds in getting these essential services will not only save you money in the long run but also ensure a safer and more enjoyable driving experience.

4 Common Questions About Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Tire Pressure Cold TemperatureA Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is a system of integrated tire stem sensors that detect and warn a driver that tire pressure has dropped to a potentially unsafe level. The TPMS symbol looks like an exclamation point in parentheses. It is designed to illuminate when the pressure in one or more of your tires is reduced by around 25%.

In this post, we will look at the common questions drivers have about tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

When did vehicles start having TPMS?

TPMS systems became mandatory for new vehicles in the early 2000’s, however, European and American luxury cars had adopted the technology even earlier. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of TPMS in Proper Tire Pressure Maintenance. The study showed that 23.1% of the vehicles without a TPMS had at least one severely underinflated tire, while only 11.8% of TPMS-equipped vehicles had an underinflated tire. Based on the study findings, the NHTSA estimates that in 2011 mandating TPMS saved $511 million in reduced fuel consumption resulting from properly inflated tires.

When does the TPMS light come on?

The TPMS light is part of the pressure monitoring system that involves pressure detector sensors that are connected to your actual tires. The sensors are attached to the portion of the tire stem that is on the inside of the tire. Each pressure detector has a battery and transmitter that relays information to the vehicle’s onboard computer. A TPMS warning light illuminates on the dashboard panel when pressure in any of the tires becomes too low. 

Can cold temperatures affect TPMS?

Tire pressure can decrease about 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10 degrees the temperature dips below normal. This is not due to air escaping, but instead because the air inside the tire is condensing and taking up less space. This condensing effect is temporary since driving causes the tire to heat up, thereby increasing the tire’s pressure. A reason the light may come on, which is unrelated to tire pressure, is a dead battery in the TPMS system.

Additionally, tires tend to lose about 1 PSI per month from seepage of air around the edge of the rim, and even through the tread. Together these factors can cause tire pressure to drop as much as 25 percent below the recommended level. The sensing transmitters inside your tires notice this and trigger your TPMS dash light. If your TPMS light comes on you may not have a problem. You may just need to check your air and bring your tires up to the right pressure.

Check tire pressure

When should I worry about my TPMS warning light?

If your TPMS light illuminates, your tires are below the proper air pressure. You should always figure out why since underinflated tires increase the chance of tire failure, compromise vehicle handling, create improper tire and tread wear, and result in poor gas mileage. See if the light goes off after driving for a while, and also check the pressure of your tires when the vehicle is still warm. If a TPMS warning light persists with no apparent cause, take your vehicle in for professional service and evaluation.

 

Don’t Let Old Tires Sneak Up On You

What is the most frightening thing about the photo below? You might say it is the eerie red exhaust or the strange illuminated masks. Actually, it is the fact that these unfortunate souls are driving a car with OLD TIRES! Driving on old tires is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Read on to find out why.

Scary Halloween Driving on Old Tires

Why Old Tires Are Scary

Old tires may not show any obvious signs of deterioration. While they may appear to be safe, usable tires, cracks can develop both on the inside and the outside of the tire. Since the rubber compounds used in tires degrade over time, cracks will develop in the rubber, regardless of mileage and wear. Ultimately, this cracking leads to the steel belts in the tread separating from the rest of the tire.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association reports that putting an expiration date on a tire can be difficult since factors such as heat, driving, and storage conditions can greatly impact the usable life of a tire. The recommendation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is to refer to the guidelines set by the specific tire manufacturer when it comes to tire aging and usable life.

Finding Out How Old Your Tires Are

Not unsure how old your tires are? In the United States, the Department of Transportation requires tires to have a DOT code. With this code, you can learn details about the tire, including its age.

Tire Code DOT Showing Date of Manufacture

This Edmonds video breaks down how to interpret that code, including when your tires were manufactured:

Pay Attention to Tire Condition

Regularly looking at your tire tread means you’ll be more likely to notice wear trends before excessive damage can occur. Issues can be identified by visual inspection or by running your hand over the tread and feeling for problematic areas. 

Keeping your tires inflated to the correct level is an important part of tire maintenance that will extend tire life, as is regularly scheduled tire maintenance, including wheel alignment and tire rotation.

If your tires are damaged, old, worn or otherwise compromised, don’t risk the dangers of a blowout or a wreck! Buy new tires as soon as possible!

Why is it Necessary to Rotate Tires?

You probably already know that vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend that you rotate tires regularly. Have you ever wondered why? As it turns out, tire rotation can actually extend the life of your tires and greatly increase your safety on the road. 

Tire Rotation Service

What Does Tire Rotation Do for Tires?

It may be surprising to learn that there is a difference in tread wear that occurs on the front and  rear tires. The front tires are used in steering, while the rear tires remain relatively stationary in terms of lateral movement. Steering creates a scrubbing effect, putting more stress on the front tires than on the rear tires. In the case of front-wheel-drive vehicles, there is additional stress from the drive axle which means even faster tread wear on the front tires.

When you regularly rotate tires, it not only adds to the service life of your tires, it will improve your vehicle performance and safety.  During tire rotation service, a your technician will check the tread depth of all four tires, check the inflation pressure, and visually inspect the tires for any issues and potential problems.     

Does the Pattern Used to Rotate Tires Matter?

When technicians perform tire rotation service, they rotate tires following a specified rotation pattern. The pattern matters because the tires on the front axle need to accomplish very different things than the tires on the rear axle. Conditions encountered on a front-wheel drive vehicle are considerably different than those of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Tire wear effects on a performance vehicle are typically more severe than what you would see on a family sedan. Each individual wheel position can create different wear rates and different types of tire wear.

The typically suggested rule for tire rotation is to cross the free rolling axle. This means that on a front-wheel drive vehicle, the front tires should be rotated straight back to the rear and the rear tires should be crossed to the front. In the case of a rear-wheel drive vehicle the opposite applies. Front tires are crossed to the back while the rear tires are rotated straight to the front. A “double x” pattern is used with four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles, so the right front and left rear tires switch positions, as do the left front and right rear.

Tire rotation service should be scheduled per the recommendations specified in your owner’s manual. Performed at the scheduled times, tire rotation will preserve balanced handling and traction, and promote even tread wear. Not only can tire rotation result in performance advantages, many tire mileage warranties require rotation to keep the warranty valid.

Tires are a substantial investment. It pays to take care of them. Properly inflated tires that are serviced on a regular basis with proper tire rotation can be expected to deliver optimal tread life, as well as excellent performance and value.

Tire Industry Woes Continue to Cause Supply Issues and Price Increases

The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on virtually every segment of the economy, including tire manufacturing. Unfortunately, the problems have been ongoing for the automotive and tire industries with the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Automovie Tires in Stacks

The conflict has not only impacted tire production in these countries, but also the European Union. Increases in inflation and interest rates, as well as rising oil, diesel and gas prices, are all factors that continue to plague the tire industry.

According to tire industry projections, improvements in the situation are not expected to come this year:

“In terms of when issues will be resolved completely, this is likely a multi-year process, given the constraints at play. Demand remaining robust will continue to be a drag on shipping times, given the increased volume of goods without the expanded capacity to accommodate the increase in volumes being transacted.”

Until these ongoing issues are resolved, manufacturers will be forced to pass on escalating costs to the consumer.

Taking Care of Your Tires Has Never Been More Important

The best way to avoid dealing with tire supply problems and rising prices is to take care of the tires you have. If you are not already following a tire service and maintenance plan, now is the time to get started!

Protect Your Tire Tread

Regularly checking the condition of the tread on your tires is essential for extending the life of your tires. We don’t often think about looking at our tire tread unless we suspect a leak or have had an encounter with sharp road debris. Regularly looking at your tire tread means you’ll be more likely to notice wear trends before excessive damage can occur. If caught early enough, improper wear patterns in the tread, such as feathering or cupping can be corrected before too much damage occurs.

Keep Tires Correctly Inflated

Proper inflation is an extremely important part of tire maintenance that will prolong tire life. If tire inflation drops to a level that is below the recommended pressure, added load is placed on the shoulder of the tire, causing premature wear. Under-inflation also generates heat build up within the tire, which in turn increases rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy.

Stay On Top of Regular Maintenance

Wheel alignment is an essential regular maintenance service you need. When tires are unable to run straight ahead, accelerated tread wear occurs on some areas of the tire. Tire rotation should also be performed on a regular basis. A consistent and documented schedule of tire rotation will promote even tread wear. Failing wheel and suspension components can also compromise tire service life. Replace shock absorbers and other suspension components as part of overall maintenance.

Consistent tire maintenance will prevent your vehicle from experiencing a variety of problems, including uneven and premature tire tread wear. Protecting your tire investment will pay off when you need to watch your budget the most.

 

Your Summer Car Care Checklist

You depend on your car to perform safely  and efficiently in a wide range of conditions. Are you giving it the care it needs to assure that performance? The extra seasonal needs of a vehicle are obvious in the winter time, with its snow, ice and freezing temperatures.  But summer’s punishing effects might not be as obvious.

Summer Driving

Excessive temperatures can cause engine overheating, which can compromise engine components and cause expensive damage requiring extensive repairs.  When the engine temperature exceeds 230 degrees Fahrenheit it is overheated. At temperatures above 245 degrees Fahrenheit, engine damage may result.  Engine overheating is also a dangerous situation that can quickly put you and your passengers in danger.  Make sure your vehicle’s cooling system is working properly to avoid overheating.

If you haven’t given much thought to car care lately, take some time to review this summer car care checklist to help your vehicle beat the heat:

  • Batteries – Have your battery tested to be sure it is strong enough to endure the heat. People think of dead battery problems in the winter, but many do not realize hot summer temperatures can be just as rough on batteries. 
  • Tires – Keep your tires inflated to the pressure recommended for your vehicle. Soft, under-inflated tires generate heat, which can result in a blowout. 
  • Coolant – Have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer as part of scheduled maintenance. Depending on the type of coolant used, this is usually required every two to five years.
  • Radiator – Have your radiator checked to be sure it is in good condition and that the fluid level is correct. Another issue to watch for is a plugged radiator core. This problem can happen when coolant flushes are not performed.
  • Cooling Fans – Cooling fans should be regularly checked to avoid engine problems. A cooling fan failure can lead to engine overheating problems. In some cases, trouble with the air conditioning system can be a sign that you have a cooling fan problem. 
  • Thermostat – Have your thermostat inspected. A bad thermostat is a common cause of engine overheating. A failing thermostat can also be indicated by the check engine light illuminating or the car heater not working.
  • Water Pump – A compromised water pump will often cause a coolant leak, so if you notice the coolant level dropping at a faster rate, you should have it checked as soon as possible. 
  • Belts and Hoses – The belts and hoses in your cooling system should be checked to make sure they are tight and in good condition.  Cracks or deterioration of the rubber are signs of trouble.

 

 

How Taking Care of Your Tires Can Help Offset High Gas Prices

Record high gas prices have everyone thinking about ways to save money. While you may not have the option to drive less, there are other vehicle related expenses you can reduce to make your overall driving budget go farther. 

Gas Prices Vehicle Expense

Taking care of your tires will help extend your driving budget by protecting your tire investment. Not only will your tires last longer and perform better, you will also get better gas mileage and be safer on the road.

Five Tire Care Tips for Extending Your Driving Budget

  1. Inspect Your Tire Tread on a Regular Basis

The tread on your tires is essential for proper performance. Regular tread inspection is important for identifying tread wear problems before too much damage is done. The penny test is a simple way to confirm that your tire tread is in good shape.

Hold a penny so that “In God We Trust” appears across the top. Insert it into five different sections of the tire, taking note of the visibility of Lincoln’s head. If you can consistently see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are excessively worn, and it is time to go shopping for a new set of tires. If the top of Lincoln’s head (to about the forehead hairline) is covered throughout the tread grooves, the tread is in good shape and your tires probably do not need replacement.

  1. Check Your Tire Pressure Monthly

Check your tire pressure at least once a month.  This one quick chore could save you money by improving your tire life and gas mileage. Check your owner’s manual to confirm the proper pressure for your vehicle’s tires. Remember that the maximum pressure is not the same as the recommended pressure. Don’t forget to check the pressure of your spare when you check your other tires, so it is ready when you need it.

  1. Get Your Tires Balanced

Tire balancing should be part of your regular scheduled maintenance. Your owner’s manual will provide a recommended schedule for your car, truck, or SUV. Tire balancing promotes a smooth ride and even tire wear by correctly adjusting the wheel weight distribution around the vehicle.

  1. Get Your Tire Alignment Checked

Incorrectly aligned tires will decrease tire life because poor alignment leads to uneven tread wear. Poor alignment also compromises the safety of your vehicle. Have the alignment checked any time you notice problems with your vehicle’s handling to assure your safety and protect your investment.

  1. Get your Tires Rotated

Having your tires rotated on a regular basis is an important part of tire maintenance that will significantly extend tire service life. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for the tire rotation recommendations for your particular vehicle.

Why Good Tire Tread Matters on Wet Roads

When talkin’ tires, we talk a lot about tire tread and why it is so important to tire performance and safety. In previous posts, we’ve talked about how there are specialized types of tire tread for different types of driving. This post will look at the important role tire tread plays in managing tire performance on wet roads.

Tire Tread Track Driving Wet Road

The Role of Tire Tread in Driving

Tire tread is a crucial factor in a tire’s ability to provide traction. Traction is the resistance between the tire and the ground in reaction to the torque being exerted by the wheel axle under the power of the engine. Good traction enhances your ability to maneuver and brake as you drive.

You might be surprised to learn that race car tires have no tread. Racing tires are designed to put as much of the tire rubber on the road as possible in order to maximize traction for increased speed and better control of the vehicle. This works for racing because racing is done in a very controlled environment, with optimal road conditions. Obviously this is not the case with everyday driving, where we regularly encounter challenges like wet roads.  

Tire Tread vs Hydroplaning

Tire tread is critically important to prevent hydroplaning, which occurs when water comes between the road surface and your tires. Because the tires are riding on top of water and getting no traction with the surface of the road, your vehicle becomes unresponsive to steering or braking. This frightening phenomenon can occur even when road surfaces are slightly damp. 

Unlike racing tires, tires meant for regular passenger vehicles must have an ample amount of tread to assure safe handling. Thanks to innovation in tire technology, the tread on tires has been designed to prevent hydroplaning by channeling and dispersing water away from the face of the tire. 

Properly Maintaining Tires Optimizes Tread & Safety

Tires with excessively worn tread cannot disperse water safely because the channels lack the necessary depth. Condition of tire tread should be monitored regularly. A consistent and documented schedule of tire rotation will extend tread service life by promoting even tread wear.

Under-inflated tires are also unable to disperse water properly. Keeping your tires properly inflated is an extremely important part of extending tire life, as well. If tire inflation decreases to a level that is below the recommended pressure, an additional load is placed on the shoulder of the tire. This will cause that area to wear prematurely. Under-inflation also causes heat to build up within the tire, which increases rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy.