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When To Buy New Car Tires [2021]


A wheel alignment isn't necessary when you have new tires installed, but it's a really (like, really) good idea. An alignment helps ensure that all four tires are correctly angled with each other and the road.




when to buy new car tires


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Yes, the majority of vehicles today (cars, small SUVs, and vans) require a four-wheel alignment. Some cars with solid rear axles can only have their front wheels aligned. But even in the case of two-wheel alignments, your technician can check the rear tires for damage that may compromise your car's handling.


Yes, tires can all look alike. They are round. They are made of rubber. They have treads. And they are perhaps THE most important safety feature of your vehicle. Just like shoes, tires are made by multiple companies including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin, Hercules, Dunlop, Yokohama, and more. And like designer shoes, choosing the right tire brand depends on so many facets of your vehicle and driving habits.


When you do finally take the step to shop around (see below), most tire dealers will ask the make, model, and year of your car. But you may still have different size options as well. Your choices may include bigger tires fill the wheel well, or smaller less expensive tires.


Or, you can order your tires through Amazon or a third party supplier like Tire Rack or Tirebuyer; these sites promise the lowest possible price and are great for people who have a favorite mechanic or can handle the installation themselves.


Just as your feet are sore after a long walk, the tires on your car take a beating every time you drive. This isn't a sign of bad driving --well, not usually -- but rather an inevitable fact of life. Tires get old and worn down. And because a tire failure while you're driving can be catastrophic, causing your car to go out of control or leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere without any easy way to get home, you want to know when your tires are in bad shape so you can get new ones before something goes wrong. Of course, if you have a mechanic look at your car periodically, he or she will probably tell you if the tires need to be changed, but there are several things you can do yourself short of a visit to your local auto center to make sure your tires are in good shape.


The tread on your tires should never fall below 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimeters) in depth. If you regularly drive on slick, wet surfaces, you'd be even better off with twice that much. You can buy a gauge to measure the tread depth the way the professionals do, but there's an old trick that will give you a rough idea of how much tread depth you have left and it won't cost you more than a penny.


In fact, it requires a penny. Take a Lincoln-head penny, the kind you find in your change every day, and insert Abe's head (head-down) into the tread. If Lincoln's entire head remains visible, you don't have enough tread. Take your car into the mechanic and ask about getting a new set of tires.


Newer tires have a convenience that older tires lacked. They have tread wear indicator bars built into the tires themselves. These bars, invisible or barely visible when the tires are new, gradually begin to appear as the tread wears down. They appear as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself. If more than one or two of these are visible on a tire, the tread is getting low. This should be particularly obvious in the wet tracks that your tires leave after you drive through a puddle. Use the penny test described on the previous page to double check the depth, but if the bars are starting to appear on any or all of your tires, it's once again time to check with your mechanic or local tire dealer to see about getting your current tires replaced.


Not all problems with the tires are going to be in the tread. They can also appear in the sidewall. Fortunately, it's easy to do a visual check of sidewall problems. Look for tracks or cuts in the sidewall -- grooves that are distinct enough to be visible to the naked eye. This could be a sign that your tire is developing a leak (or worse, that it's nearly ready to blow out). This is definitely something you want to avoid. So if the cracks in the sidewall are starting to look serious, get that car to a repair shop at the next opportunity and start talking about getting them replaced. Better safe than sorry, as they say.


Sometimes the outer surface of the tire begins to weaken. The result can be a bulge or blister that extends outward from the rest of the surface. This is similar to an aneurysm in one of your blood vessels and you know that if your doctor tells you that you have an aneurysm, you'd better get to the hospital as quickly as you can before you blow out an artery. It's the same with your tire. This weak spot can cause a sudden blow out, and if you don't put the car in the hospital (or service center, as the case may be) before this happens, it may end up putting you in the hospital when the tire blows out on the freeway. So keep your eye on those tire bulges and blisters.


A certain amount of vibration is inevitable when driving, especially on poorly paved roads, but if you've been driving for a while, you probably know how much vibration feels right and how much means that something's going wrong. There can be any of a number of causes for the vibration -- maybe your tires are misaligned or unbalanced, or your shock absorbers are starting to go. But it could also indicate that there's some sort of internal problem in the tire itself. Even if the tire isn't the root cause of the vibration, the vibration could damage the tire and pretty soon you'll have a problem. So if your car has a bad case of the shimmy-shimmy shakes, especially if you notice this when you aren't driving on bad roads, take it to the mechanic right away to have it checked out. Too much vibration is almost always a sign that something is wrong.


There is no exact answer to how long a particular tire will last, but there are things a driver can do to get the most out of their tire investment and avoid driving on unsafe tires. On average, people drive between 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year, which means the average good quality all-season tire will last somewhere between three and five years, depending on maintenance, driving style and conditions, etc.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) states a driver is three times more likely to be involved in a crash caused by poor tire condition. Safer is smarter when it comes to the health of tires, so if there is ever a question on tread wear or age, have the tires checked.


Many drivers are not aware that minimally used tires, like the ones on recreational vehicles, collectible cars, or even spare tires, tend to experience aging instead of wearing, due to a lack of driving. An aged tire has a substantial amount of tread; however, the structural integrity of the tire is weaker because the tire needs to be driven for the chemicals in the rubber to remain effective.


Driving in poor weather conditions like ice, snow, and rain can cause tires to wear quicker because they must work harder to maintain traction. Purchasing tires that are specially engineered to perform in specific weather conditions can provide drivers with an extra measure of traction and control (meaning greater safety) while delivering good treadwear.


Bridgestone offers different types of tires designed to keep you and your car safe during any weather or road condition. For example, Bridgestone's Blizzak tire series is built to perform in harsh winter weather conditions providing durable traction on snowy and icy roads, and the Dueler tire series is one of several that offer a secure grip on wet road conditions for areas that experience heavy rain.


Poor driving habits like hard cornering, quick acceleration, and sudden braking can increase the stress on tires tremendously, causing them to wear rapidly. Drivers can extend the life of their tires significantly by avoiding aggressive driving.


It is important to regularly have tires checked for damage, to maintain air pressure levels, and to keep tires aligned and rotated. Without proper maintenance, tire life can be reduced by as much as half - even more, in some cases.


Bridgestone recommends that its Bridgestone or Firestone brand tires be removed from service after ten years regardless of their remaining tread depth. They also recommend periodic inspections by a qualified technician for damage such as punctures, impact damage, signs of improper inflation or overloading, or other conditions resulting from the use or misuse of the tire.


Another way to extend tire life is to keep up with the proper maintenance of a vehicle and its tires. A couple of things you can do yourself are to check the air pressure and tread depth. You should have a qualified technician periodically check their balance and alignment and be sure to have tires rotated at regular intervals. maintenance is essential for your tires to perform their best and last their longest.


All-season tires work like the casual shoes of the car world. They must do most things well that people need them to do. They provide a good combination of safe traction in most weather conditions, reasonably low noise, and long life at a moderate price.


Most cars come from the factory wearing all-season tires. When all-season tires wear out, most people get another set and go on driving safely. They are usually sold according to how many miles they are expected to last in normal driving.


Consumer Reports testing has even shown that, in some circumstances, a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car with winter tires has more traction in the snow than an all-wheel-drive (AWD) car with all-season tires. Since AWD systems can add thousands to the cost of a new car, many consumers might save money and drive safer in the snow by choosing winter tires instead. Of course, an AWD car with snow tires works like the grippiest of grippy cars in a winter storm.


Run-flats are not actually a separate category of tire. High-performance, all-season, and winter tires are available in run-flat styles. A run-flat tire has an internal support structure that allows it to continue driving safely for a certain distance even after it has been pierced. Run-flat tires, however, cannot drive at all speeds or indefinitely after losing air. They are designed to get you safely to a place where you can have the tire repaired or replaced. 041b061a72


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