Professional drivers know that car tyres are one of the most important parts in a vehicle. Some drivers underestimate their role, considering that engine or brakes play greater role. Good tyres ensure safety of the driver and passengers. The quality of tyres defines everything. High-quality tyres provide your vehicle with a better handling and braking on a wet, slippery or dry road. It is also immensely important to choose tyres according to weather conditions in a region you live in. In regions, where winter are mild derivers usually put all-season tyres on vehicles, while in countries with severe winters it is preferable to put winter tyres or studded winter tyres.
The right time to replace tyres
There is more that one reason to replace tyres but primary reason worn-out process of tyres. Tyres become legally worn-out when the depth of the tread becomes 2/32 inches. The main purpose of tyre tread is to disperse water from the contact patch and provide the grip of the road. The contact patch is a small area, as big as a human palm, that is in contact with the road. In other words, without tread the tyre loses its ability to grip the wet road. It cannot stop quickly, turn or accelerate.
Modern tyres have so-called “wear bars” spaced periodically into the grooves. Wear bars are raised up to 2/32 and help understand when it is time to replace tyres. When wear bars become the same level with tread of tyres, the driver knows he needs to find a new pair of tyres.
There is also another method to define whether the tyre is worn out enough to be changed. It called the Lincoln penny tread depth test, and it is used mostly in America. It is necessary to take a penny, find the place in a tyre, where tread seems to have the lowest level. The driver has to put Lincoln’s head down the groove. If the driver can see the top of Lincoln’s head with “In God we trust” inscription, that is a bad sign. That means that the tyre should be replaced.
The majority of vehicle manuals as well as many mechanics will tell you that on average tyres should be replaced once they reach five-year term. It is considered that with age tyres become very susceptible to various damages. There are many driving habits that influence the condition of the tyre –speeding, emergency braking, quick start, damaged roads, etc. Just imagine how much these factors influence the tyre during five years. In the results, the risk of vehicle damage, failure and even an accident increases. Good news is that it is possible to determine the age of any tyre, even if you have used tyres. There is a DOT number indicated on the tyre sidewall, near the rim. The DOT number consists of different digits that tell about the date of manufacturing, manufacturer and other information about the tyre. The first two digits denote the week of the manufacturing. The last two digits of the number usually tell about the year of tyre manufacturing. For example, 3109 indicates that the tyre was produced in 2009 in the 31 st week.
To be safe and keep your passengers safe, it is important to control the condition of the tyres and replace them when necessary. Thus, you should consider buying new tyres when the tread is too low or when the tyres become older than 5 years.
Types of tyres and weather conditions
Drivers know that using the right type of tyres can make a great difference. Using summer tyres in winter is not only dangerous for the driver but also bad for the tyres. Summer tyres are made from a different rubber and, therefore, react to cold temperature differently. Winter tyres have higher rubber content that keeps them supple in low temperatures while summer tyres provide a better performance in warm weather. There are also all-season tyres that are a perfect choice for regions with mild winters. With that in mind, drivers have to replace winter tyres with summer tyres in summer seasons and vice versa in winter seasons.
Where should I purchase new tyres?
The market of tyre production is big and very competitive. Drivers are offered a wide range of high-quality products that are manufactured by well-know and reputable manufacturers. Nevertheless, it is better to buy tyres online. Online shops usually offer a better choice in comparison to conventional shops. Pay attention to various special offers of e-shops. You can find a great deal “buy 3 and get 1 for free” or “100 pounds rebate for buying four tyres”. Of course, offers depend on manufacturers and some companies are not very generous on discounts.
While determining the budget for new tyres, do not forget that you will have to spend extra for installing them – labour and materials to balance them. Do not forget about shipping costs too, when ordering tyres from abroad.
Do I need to change all four tyres?
The conditions of front tyres might be different from rear tyres but it is better to replace all four tyres. This will provide complete matching of size, type, tread thickness, and even manufacturer. For most modern vehicles it is satisfactory to replace two tyres at a time but it is mandatory to replace all four tyres for some trucks and vehicles. Full replacement is better and important for four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles because full replacement eliminates any damage to components of all-wheel-drive system. The same refers to certain winter tyres - they need to be replaced all together. If the type of newly installed tyre is different from construction of the tyre that is installed now, it can cause problems with handling and control.
Increasing performance of any vehicle is possible by its timely maintenance. Vehicle maintenance means not only checking oil level or replacing old parts. It also means taking care of its tyres and their timely replacement. Do not forget about your driving habits, which can considerably extend life term of tyres.