Tag: All Season Tires

Tires for Your Car

Tires for Your CarPurchasing tires for your car has become much more complicated in the last few years. Not only do you need summer tires and snow tires, but there are all season tires and of course then there are speed ratings for the tires that you have, how much water they will dispel as you go down a flooded road and on and on.

Tire Services to Consider

Then there are the various services that various car dealers and tire manufacturers provide to customers, when they purchased tires. What we found was that those companies that have a national or international presence often offer the best in tire services for their customers.

They tend to have greater volume, which means they can get better prices from the manufacturer for the tires that they sell which they pass along to in some degree to their customers. In addition they can offer services to their customers which are attractive for a number of reasons.

Tires for Your Car – Price Plus Service

We happen to like Costco as the premiere company to provide tires for the car that we drive. And we will use their services to illustrate some of the reasons why they should be rated number one if they’re not already at that point.

Services such as free tire rotation, free balancing  every 12,000 km’s is a significant benefit to us. In addition Costco has stores all across the US,  Canada and Mexico, so if you’re traveling by car you can drop into any Costco and have your tires rebalanced  and rotated or fixed at no cost to you as long as you have your receipt with you.

In addition our car also takes nitrogen in the tires which stabilizes the tires and keeps them at a uniform pressure for much longer than tires filled with normal air. Not all garages have this capability and although you can top up with air if needed, the preference is to use nitrogen to avoid changes in tire pressure due to change in temperature.

Combining all of these services and the price and the ongoing maintenance provided by Costco for our tires on our car we are very satisfied with the company and we think that most customers would be interested in the services.

Now that we’ve covered these services, we suggest customers compare the services and the price provided by Costco to all other tire companies and if you can get the same at a better price go for it. Although you might pay a little bit more initially for your tires, always consider the maintenance benefits and the cost of those benefits before making a decision. If you have to pay $20 per tire to re-balance the tires and then rotate them, any savings you gained can be quickly erased.  It worked for us and we feel that we save a lot of money this way. By rotating the tires, you should get more mileage out of your tires than if you do not rotate them on a regular basis.


Snow tires: five things you need to know

Snow tiresAs the temperature begins to drop, experts will emphasize that your summer tires, or even all season tires will not be as efficient when driving in the cold and snowy icy conditions. All season tires which are  on your car for all types of seasons and conditions are not made of soft rubber in the same manner as snow tires. The snow tire is made of soft rubber and will provide better handling and better traction in snow and ice conditions. Snow tires also have better rubber grips for digging their way through deep snow. If you regularly drive in snow, don’t take a chance install snow tires on your car.

Here are five tips for installing winter Snow tires on your car:

Winter tires should be marked with a picture of a peaked mountain and a snowflake to indicate that they meet the standards for snow traction performance and have been engineered specifically for use in snow conditions. If this symbol is not present then they are not winter tires and you should not buy them. these tires will not deliver the performance of true winter tires.

Always install a set of snow tires in a set of four. This will provide better control and traction in snow conditions and icy conditions. Maintain the same tread pattern and internal construction and size. Acceleration, stopping and vibration as well as overall control will be improved with four tires that are the same.

New tires are designed to spin in one direction only. Make sure that your tires are mounted on the correct side to provide maximum gripping action in ice and snow conditions. Incorrectly mounted tires will actually provide instability and sliding out of control situations in icy and snowy conditions.

Installing tires at the rear that are also snow tires, even for front-wheel-drive cars will provide more stability so you don’t spin out in the middle-of-the-road. This is a truly scary event for most people especially when there is oncoming traffic.

Snow tires – Nitrogen Filled

Tires inflated with air will drop in air pressure as the  season gets colder. If there is a significant drop in temperature say 20 or 30°, most tires will be under inflated at that point and you may need to add air to the tires. If you have added air and, and the temperature increases you may want to check your air pressure again to make sure that the Air pressure in your tires it’s not too high. Cars with tire pressure monitoring systems will alert you to low pressures, however those consumers without TPS should check their tires on a monthly basis at a minimum

Some dealers will fill your tires with nitrogen which is much more stable as temperatures change. Regardless, check your tires pressure on a regular basis to ensure that there is sufficient air pressure in the tires at all times to maintain proper gripping action in snow and ice conditions. Although nitrogen is more stable, extreme temperatures can cause tire pressures to change. Monitor your tires pressure on a regular basis. If you have an air pressure monitoring system in your car, the alert light on your dashboard will glow when your tires are low in pressure. always make sure your tires are properly inflated.


Best Tires

Best TiresHow do you know what the best tires are for your car? Most people just go to the dealer or to a tire company and tell them the kind of tires the car came with and install new tires from the same manufacturer.  Sometimes the dealer will look it up in a database he has access to, while other times you will have to check the existing tires to see what they are. Size and manufacturer are the key bits of information.

Best Tires Fit Your Car

They have to be of the same size and width to fit your car and there are usually many different tires that can be installed. Some are summer tires, some are winter tires, but most people put all season tires on their cars unless you happen to be in a state or province were they make it mandatory to have snow tires installed in the winter time.

Tires also come with various load ratings and speed ratings. How do you know what speed and load rating to install on your car? The reality is you do not and most people just need to rely on the dealer’s recommendation to install the best tires for their car or at least the tires that are rated for each make and model along with the type of driving that you do. Your car’s manual will have a section on tires and will advise regarding the type of tire to install.

Tire Sizes & Ratings

Our tires are P215 60R16 M&S! Whatever does that mean and how do you select tires that will fit your car? The M&S is the easy part. This means Mud and Snow. The tires are supposed to be ok for both conditions in addition to summer time driving. They are generally ok, however if you want to have good traction, consumers should really consider winter snow tires with heavy tread meant for snowy conditions. M&S tires are not great in heavy snow conditions and most people will install snow tires for the winter time if they drive every day in snow conditions for safety.

The remaining numbers are a bit more complex:

  • 215 means the width of the tire face is 215mm (8.46 inches)
  • 60 means that the size of the sidewall is 60% of the width of the tire face
  • R16 means that the tire is designed to fit 16 inch rims

You can change the width of the tire. However you cannot change the rim size of your tire. If you do, the actual speed will be faster than what is shown on your speedometer. This depends on whether you add larger or smaller rim size tires. Your car has been designed for this size of tire. Your car will have the best handling characteristics and the best gas mileage with tires that meet these specs. Anything different will affect the car. Most people just have to tell the tire company the make and model of the car. They will add the right kind of tires.

Cheap Tires or Best Tires

There are tires that will last longer and will be able to handle higher speeds at hot temperatures.  Longer lasting tires usually cost more and make sense if you are keeping the car for a long time. If you planning to sell your car, you may not want to spend much money on new tires. This is another factor to take into account when you are buying tires. Find the best tires for your car at the best tire price.


Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresIf you enjoy taking a corner or two a bit crazy once in a while or you have found that you needed to swerve to miss another car you may find your car’s current handling performance a bit lacking. There are a number of things that affect the way a car handles corners including the width of the tires. Improving some  of these elements may increase the handling capabilities of your car.

Sliding off the road:

One of key components to how well your car corners is the tires. Tire width and compound of the rubber play crucial roles in keeping your car from sliding off the road.  Wider tires have more surface area in contact with the road which will help to  improve traction in all sorts of conditions. Wider tires also have the unfortunate side effect of decreasing your gas mileage due to increased friction with the road. Many people find that after they install wider tires that they see their gas mileage go down by 50 miles per tank!

Car makers routinely put such skinny tires on their vehicles to improve gas mileage claims. Wider tires with low tread depth may also  turn into skis in winter driving conditions.

Stickier Tires

Installing stickier or softer tires will help your dry traction considerably. Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresSofter and stickier tires will wear out much faster. Snow tires which are considered a soft tire and are excellent in cold winter conditions and will wear out much faster during hot summer conditions. They are softer so that they can conform to the hard ice surface of the road and bite into snow conditions. They also have much more tread on them that is deeper and can allow your tire to find traction in snow conditions.

High performance summer tires may also perform very poorly in wet and icy conditions,  since they are too hard and do not bend or adapt to the road conditions, which means you’ll probably want another set of tires for winter driving.

Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide tires often have a shorter side wall which will improve handling slightly when you go  around a corner at high speed  your tires will actually flop over sideways. If you have the shorter the side walls are the less likely  to let this happen, but unfortunately this also leads to a slightly rougher ride as there is less tire height to absorb bumps in the road.

Low profile tires are not mass produced and as a result you will find that the prices are much higher for a set of four tires.

Tire Size

Your speedometer is attached to your transmission, so regardless of what size of tire you have on your car your speedometer will register a specific speed based on the RPM’s of the transmission. I once borrowed a car and got a speeding ticket because the owner had installed oversize tires on his car. Although the speedometer registered that I was doing 60 miles an hour on the highway, I was actually doing 70 miles an hour.

He was not willing to pay for the ticket! If you are changing your tires from narrow to wide and not changing the diameter you should be ok, Going to low profile tires will change the registered speed on your speedometer. Note the changes and drive accordingly.

Body Roll:

Does your car feel like it is leaning over sideways when you tear around a turn? This is what is known as body roll. There are a couple of ways to deal with  this problem.

The easiest of which that is also the thing that has the least effect on ride comfort is to install a set of sway bars or anti-roll bars. They are usually thicker than the stock sway bars, which flex less and keep your car  from leaning as much during cornering. The difference these bars make can be tremendous. They can be installed yourself in a few hours and shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars at most.

Another thing that affects body roll is your car’s center of gravity. The closer your car is to the ground the less effect the forces of cornering will have on it. Installing a set of lowering springs which bring your car an inch or two closer to the ground will improve handling considerably.

You should be aware though that putting lowering springs on your stock shocks will cause them to wear out faster, so it is recommended that you replace both at the same time to save money on labor in the future. Lowering springs also have a different spring rate than the stock springs and will most likely result in a much stiffer ride than you’re used to.

Remember: Drive safe, wear your seat belt at all times, and have fun!


Choosing Snow Tires

Choosing the right tires for your car, SUV or truck  is one of the most important decisions we have to make in regards to our personal transportation. It is of utmost importance during the winter, when in many areas of the country the presence of ice and snow on roadways creates a deadly hazard. So many people try to get by on so-called all season tires and tires that are nearly bald.

When you hit ice and snow, with these tires you are just not going to go anywhere and worse you may be Choosing Snow Tiresinvolved in an accident.  It is not a difficult process if you have the necessary information.

The first thing you should do is check your vehicle owner’s manual to find the manufacturer specifications for the types and sizes of tires recommended by them. If your tires were new with your car, then the dealer will have installed the correct tires and you can usually get the same size as those that are on the car. Of course you will want snow tires instead of summer tires, but they will be the same size.

Your dealer or your local mechanic can usually look up the information as well regarding the best tires for your car. Install mud and snow tires on your car or SUV. These tires can be used anywhere as long as they do not have metal studs on them. Studs were allowed at one time, however communities found that studs would chew up the road too much and they were also dangerous if a stud became loose and flew out of the tire.

Choosing Snow Tires – Metal Stud Tires

If you live in an area where ice is common in the winter, be sure to use metal-stud tires that are available. Keep your other tires(if they are in good condition) for the end of the winter. These metal stud tires are only allowed during the winter season in some states. They are banned in 10 states and in most provinces of Canada.

Make sure that all of the snow tires you use are of the same size, type and tread. This is particularly important if your vehicle is front wheel drive. Using mismatched rear wheels may result in a loss of traction when braking on the icy roads of winter. You can also lose stability at higher speeds. All four tires must be the same.

When choosing tires be aware that equipping your vehicle with over sized tires may result in difficulty steering. They can also rub the fender wells or suspension underneath. You will also find that you are actually going faster than what is reported on your speedometer. The speedometer is driven from the transmission and not from ground speed.

As a rule, snow tires are manufactured with large empty areas in their tread so that they will have more traction on snow than normal tires. Regular all season type tires are more concerned with marrying a quiet ride with a modicum of traction. Snow tires are also made of softer rubber to enable a stronger grip on the road. They tend to wear more quickly, especially if you drive your car with them in the summer time.

Using Tire chains

Another time tested method that can be used when conditions warrant is the use of tire chains. Installing tire chains can increase traction as much as 200%. However you are limited to the speed that you can travel with chains installed. Your gas mileage will suffer significantly. Again, make sure that these chains are of the right size and type for your particular tire .

The final tip is check on the age of your new tires. Many, although new, are sold years after they were manufactured. Rubber does dry out and become brittle. Better to go with tires that have been manufactured  more recently. Following the preceding tips will help you to safeguard you and your family in the upcoming winter.


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