Think you might need to buy new tires for your vehicle? Or are you unsure, and need advice?
Maybe you’re not getting enough traction on slick roads. Maybe you’ve tried the “Lincoln penny” test and you can see Honest Abe’s head in its entirety peeping out from your tread.
So you surf the internet to find, “tire shop near me,” so you can be educated on tires and make a possible purchase. But you’re not even sure where to start.
No worries! Keep reading for 10 questions to ask any tire shop.
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1. How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace?
The time to replace your tires is before the handling of the car becomes suspect.
Experts have recommended the penny test for many years, but with today’s tire specs, it is better to use a quarter. If George Washington’s head is flush with the tread, you have enough tread left to get by in extreme weather. At this point, you should start your tire search.
You can also buy a tire tread gauge for very little cost, for a more accurate tread reading.
Regardless of your method, check your tires’ treads at least once a month.
2. Do I Have to Replace All Tires at Once?
If you are driving on 4 newer tires, and have a blowout in one, you can replace it with the same type and model tire as the others. Make sure you have the new one installed on the rear of the car, rather than the front, to avoid hydroplaning on wet roads.
Replacing only one tire when all four are worn is a very bad idea since all 4 tires need to be equal for safe vehicle steering and operation.
3. What Kind of Tires Do I Need?
Several factors determine what type of tires your vehicle needs. These factors are categorized by the type of vehicle and your driving profile.
The manufacturer of your car will have a recommendation of what kind of tires your car needs.
If it snows where you are, then you will need snow-rated tires. If you drive off-road for fun and recreation, then all-terrain tires would be your choice. Most cars, however, will do fine with basic tires intended for highway driving under normal conditions.
4. Is it Safe to Buy “Used” Tires?
To save money or be eco-friendly, you might be tempted to buy “gently used” tires for your car.
The problem here is that you have no way of knowing where those tires have been. Unscrupulous dealers might paint worn-out tires black to make them look newer. And tires that have been under or over-inflated in a past life can have internal damage that your eye won’t see.
If you know a set of used tires is less than two years old, AND you have access to their history, then go ahead.
5. What Affects New Tire Costs?
New tire costs vary, and are affected by the size, quality, and make.
Typical passenger cars have 16-18 inch tires. If you are driving a highly-customized car, and want bigger wheels, you’ll pay more for them.
Tire brand makes a difference, too. Michelin and Pirelli, for example, command higher prices than lesser-known brands. Yokohoma falls somewhere in the middle. Tires are also categorized as economy, mid-level, or performance.
In general, try to buy the best quality tire your budget will allow.
6. What Should I Know About Tire Warranties?
More than likely, you will not need to use the warranty offered by your tire dealer, but be sure you know about the following items in regards to that warranty:
- Length of coverage
- Guaranteed workmanship and materials
- Guarantee for maintenance, including flat repair and rotations.
- Road hazard coverage
- Warranty should be in effect at all dealer locations
If you take care of your tires, the chances of using the warranty decreases.
7. How Do I Take Care of My Tires?
Your dealer can instruct you on how to care for your tires, so you are not in the shop buying new tires too often. This care includes:
Your tires’ air pressure needs to be kept constant. Check the pressure once a month with a pressure gauge, which you can buy nearly anywhere. Check pressure before you drive the car, and consult your vehicle’s manual for correct pressure levels.
Tire Rotation, Balancing, and Alignment
Have your tires rotated for free at your dealer’s about every 5000 to 7000 miles, to keep the wear even.
Balancing tires is done by attaching small weights to each tire to limit vibration. If you notice unusual vibration from below when driving, take the tires in for balancing.
Your wheels need to be aligned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is done with new tires, and anytime you feel a problem with the car’s steering, like drifting or pulling.
8. Can I Buy Bigger or Smaller Tires?
A custom ride is fun and appealing, but be careful when upsizing or downsizing tires.
A larger tire can cause your speedometer to read slower. Smaller tires will alter your handling.
Talk to a professional about what is involved in changing tire sizes. Or, try custom-made wheel rims that will give your car a sleek look. Get more info here for new designs and styles.
9. Will I Get Better Gas Mileage With New Tires?
If you buy the correct size tires, keep them inflated correctly, while also taking good care of them, you should see file efficiency improve by as much as 15% to 20%.
Driving on worn tires, of course, will lower your gas mileage.
10. How Long Can I Drive on a Flat Tire?
Not too long, before the alignment and balance wear out, which will end up costing you more in the long run.
A spare tire is also meant to be a very temporary replacement and not a long-term solution. Use the spare to get your car to the shop, and then remove it for a new set.
Get to Know the “Tire Shop Near Me”
When you find the “tire shop near me” that meets your expectations, become a regular customer who is not afraid to ask questions. A trusted dealer and an informed buyer make a great team for your car’s care.
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