Keeping good care of your tires will extend their life and improve your effective miles per gallon. Tires are one of the more expensive ongoing costs of car ownership, so tending to them properly is important. Plus, it’s pretty easy!
How to Check If Your Tires Need Rotating
One somewhat outdated method is to rotate your tires with every other oil change. This strategy dates back to the time when they told you to change your oil every 3,000 miles. However, you really only want to rotate your tires when they need it, so be sure to check if they are in need of a rotation before having it done.
Here are the signs:
Wearing Unevenly: Inspect your tires to see if they are wearing evenly. If not, it’s time for a rotation and possibly an alignment so that the problem doesn’t keep happening.
Pressure Issues: If you’ve been noticing that your tire pressure isn’t holding, and you haven’t had a rotation done recently, it’s probably time for one.
Feel the Vibrations: When your car starts vibrating, it’s usually your tires that are to blame. After all, they’re how your car meets the road. A tire rotation and balancing will likely set things straight again, returning things to a smooth, vibration-free status.
Can I Do It Myself?
It sounds easy enough at first: just taking the tires off and putting them back on in different spots. Back in the day, it really was just as easy as it sounds. But with modern cars, there’s more to it than just swapping tire spots.
Unless you have all of the tools, the ability to easily lift your car up to remove the tires, and the equipment needed to check that everything is right when you’re done, this one is best left to the shop. It’s not a huge out-of-pocket expense; most reputable shops will do it for around $20, so it’s worth it—especially considering how long it helps extend the life of the tires.
Terrific Tire Care
Besides getting your tires rotated when they need it, there are a series of things you can do that will help them last as long as they can without incident. Proper tire care doesn’t take a lot of time, doesn’t cost as much as you’d think, and only needs to be done a few times a month. Check out these four things you should keep your eye on:
Fill ‘Em Up!: If your tires are underinflated, it could wear them out faster than under normal conditions. On the contrary, if they are overinflated, it could be a driving hazard with longer stopping distances required.
Balancing: Making sure your tires are balanced is another way to extend their life. Ensuring that your tires are not imbalanced is a pretty straightforward process. If done with the right equipment, it should lead to a smoother ride in your car.
Alignment: Having your car aligned will help your tires wear out evenly and make them last longer. When your car is out of alignment, your tires will wear unevenly and will need to be replaced sooner than usual.
Tread: The tread on your tires shows you how much life they have left. It is easy enough to keep an eye on how much tread you have left and how fast you are going through a set of tires. In Canada, you can use the nickel technique to test your tread. If you can see the ends of the Queen’s crown, it’s time to get some new tires!
Changing with the Seasons
If you really want to become an expert at tire care, you will want to invest in a set of winter tires. When the cold weather hits, you can simply change out your tires so that you have new winterized tread that will grip the road better in arctic conditions.
In the spring, you simply put your regular tires back on. Now that you have two sets of tires, each set will last twice as long as before, and you’ll have a safer ride all year long!
We Love Tires!
At Ride Time, we love working on tires! The next time you need a rotation, balancing, or a tire repair job, come see us.