Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When Should I Replace My Tires?

Any responsible vehicle owner is always mindful of every component that may - and will - need periodic maintenance and eventually, a replacement. This is not just a task to be remembered, but it is a simple means to ensure that the vehicle will always be in its best running condition - not to mention at its safest. This holds especially true for the vehicle's tires; this is because the tires are the most exposed and prone to wear and tear. Needless to say, without ensuring its usability and proper condition, it can lead to mishaps and catastrophes.

So how will you know when it's time to change your tires?

It is a well-known fact that not all vehicle owners are well versed when it comes to identifying key factors in car part maintenance. Not everyone has received professional training; and quite frankly - though vital, not everyone has the time and resources to get that kind of education. Fret not! The following will help you know if you should still be driving around using them or if it is high time that you start shopping for replacements.

Chips and Cracks will do you harm - personally inspect each tire for signs of cracks or chipping. Take them to the shop if they can still be repaired.

The Penny Test - over time, it is only expected that the tires' treads will eventually run thin. After all, it is always exposed to the road and spins hundreds of times in every trip you make. With the help of a penny, you can determine if the treads are no longer suitable for use. What you'll need to do is to simply turn Lincoln's head upside down. Insert the coin as far as it can go in between the treads and note what you see is left of Abraham Lincoln's head.

If you cannot see anything beyond the nose or the forehead, then your tires are still good enough to use. However, if you can see some of his hair but not all the way to the top of the head, then it is time for you to do some tire shopping. While you can still use them as you seek for a replacement set, it would be best not to decide to do the necessary replacement at a much later date; a month from the time of the test would be acceptable, but do not go beyond it. Ultimately, if you can see the very top of Lincoln's head with the coin practically exposed, then you should not waste time lolling around anymore. It is the utmost importance to change it.

Time is of the essence. Regardless if you use your vehicle a lot or not, no set of tires must be kept in use for over ten years from the time of purchase. At the very least, six years should be enough and a maximum of ten years worth of use is acceptable. However, you should also note that each manufacturer and State has its own set of regulations that allows the maximum timeframe that tires can be safely used without replacing.

What should you be looking for when shopping for new tires? Before you start grabbing tires off the racks, you have to consider a few factors. Keep in mind that not every single tire available in the market will be suitable for your vehicle. Each vehicle will require specific measurements that will fit. Otherwise, just slapping them with any available tire you see may cause more harm than what you intended to be good.

The first thing that you need to do is to check your old tire's specifications. You will see the outer rim is embossed with alphanumeric characters. Take note of the whole thing to make it easier for you to search for replacements. The numbers beside the P (that stands for passenger vehicle) in the series indicates the width of the tire, measured in millimeters. It is followed by a slash that indicates the actual height's ratio to the width. Immediately follows is the Radial diameter (R) of the wheel that will fit the vehicle, as measured in inches. Finally, you'll find the load index and speed symbol.

Now that you know how to identify the kind of tires that will fit your vehicle, you will now have to answer one question to determine your next move. Are you happy with the old tires or would you like to try a new set?

If you are very satisfied with the old ones, then it would make the whole shopping process easier for you. This is simply because you already have a specific brand and model to look for.

However, if you decided that it is time for you to try something different, the process may not be as simple but could just be very rewarding in the end. As many already know, there are various brands for tires that are widely available in the market nowadays. Likewise, their prices vary as well. Therefore, if you are considering changing brands and sizes, then you should do a little bit of research on your ideal candidates. Make a shortlist of the brands and sizes and learn about them through reviews. You could also consult your local mechanic for recommendations to make this task easier for you. It is important to keep in mind that it is never advisable to make an uninformed decision especially when it comes to buying tires. You may be after savings, but you should also prioritize quality and safety.

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