As a responsible vehicle owner, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about maintenance. After all, you know that your car, truck, or SUV will take good care of you as long as you take good care of it. But how do tires and tire service fit into that maintenance routine? Let's find out.
Why Good Tires Matter
Proactive maintenance is an important part of vehicle care. As it turns out, one of the easiest--and most important--things you can do to make it happen is keep a close eye on your tires. That's because tires play a huge role in just about everything you expect from your vehicle.
For example, one of the most important things your tires do is provide reliability. They help you stay in control of your vehicle. When you hit the brakes, it's the tire tread and grip that help make sure you actually stop; when you turn, it's tire alignment and other elements that get you where you're going. They also provide traction, which is key in wet or snowy conditions.
Another thing you can thank your tires for is performance. If you notice something wrong with your driving experience, don't be so quick to blame your vehicle--instead, look to your tires. Air pressure, tread, balance, and more can all impact the way your vehicle handles on the road, which means you might feel bumps and shakes when all you want is a smooth ride.
One more thing we can all agree on is efficiency. Naturally, you don't want to do anything that will drive up your gas bill--but the unfortunate truth is that poorly maintained tires can do just that. Worn-down tread and other issues force your vehicle to work harder, which means it uses more gas, which means those numbers just keep going up at the pump.
Long story short, your tires are critical--so don't procrastinate on tire service.
Signs It's Time To Replace Your Tires
Think about it this way: Each tire supports a quarter of your vehicle's overall weight. That means they're under constant pressure--so it makes sense that they need a little TLC every now and again.
Here's how to tell if it's time for tire service or replacement:
The coin test
The so-called "coin test" helps you measure the tread on your tires. Remember, a worn-down tread can cause a whole host of performance, efficiency, and safety issues, so it's a big deal.
All you have to do is grab a penny and a quarter. First, you'll put the quarter into the tire's center tread; make sure George Washington is facing you. Now take a close look at that presidential face. Is his head even with the tread? If so, you're in luck: Your tires are safe--but they'll need replacement soon.
If that's not the case, grab your penny and repeat the process. This time, you'll want to see whether the tread is even with Abraham Lincoln's head. If it is, you need to schedule a tire service or replace your tires as soon as possible.
The manufacture date
It's best to replace tires once they pass the six-year mark. But you probably don't keep track of tire birthdays--so how do you know when it's been six years?
Luckily, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has solved this problem. You'll find a DOT code on each tire telling you the week and year it was manufactured.
Start by looking for the letters "DOT" on your tire wall. There are probably a lot of numbers and letters after that; you don't have to worry about most of these. Just look for a line of four numbers, usually by itself, where the last two numbers represent a recent year (like "19" for 2019). The first two numbers will be the week.
For example, let's say your tire says 2319. This means it was manufactured in the 23rd week of 2019, which means it's well under that six-year mark.
Keep in mind that no two vehicles will have the exact same wear pattern on their tires. That's because your driving habits and environment have a lot to do with your tires' wear rate. For example, if you drive all day, every day, your tires will get tired a whole lot faster. The same is true for less-than-ideal conditions: If you're always off-roading or navigating wet, difficult conditions, your tires work harder and wear out faster.
You know just how important your tires are. If you want them to keep doing their job, it's important to add them to your maintenance routine--and that means regularly checking the tread, keeping an eye on the manufacture data, and scheduling tire service whenever necessary. (It also means avoiding potholes when you can!)
If you need tire service or replacement, we're here to help. Contact us today to get started!