Tag: Winter Tires

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.


Tire Dealers

.There are literally thousands of tire dealers available and for good reason. Lot’s of money can be made from selling tires to consumers. Dealers make money when they sell tires, specialized rims, summer tires, winter tires, all season tires and specialty tires. If they are a multipurpose place, they will also repair muffler and may even complete auto repairs as well. Should you go to a specialty tire store who only focuses on tires or should you go to a dealer that you have faith in and provides maintenance repair services as well?

Then there are the tire repairs that are often needed. Rebalance tires, fixing flat tires and so on. It never seems to end and they make a lot of money off these services.  The question a lot of consumers ask themselves is where should I purchase my tires and how can I get the best deal for tires?

Compare Tire Dealers

The old answer is just the same as always. Do your homework, shop around, compare prices and negotiate if you can. Take into account services that are provided and if they are valuable to you, then add these services into the equation while making your decision.

Services might include tire rotation included in the price, tire repairs, tire inflation with nitrogen and so on.  Some consumers will obtain a great deal for their tires from a tire dealer, but then they have to pay $15 a tire to have the tires balanced and rotated after so many miles. That is a total cost of $60 which can add up to a large number over a few years if you drive a lot. Paying at bit more with tire rotation and balancing included might be a better deal.

Tire Dealers – Clean Reception Areas

Some consumers also value being able to go into clean comfortable and warm dealerships when they have their tires replaced. They want to be dealing with what they consider a professional company and a clean tire dealer is one way of getting the impression that the dealership is professional and doing a good job at providing service to their customers.

Personally we have found that Costco has the best tire prices. They have the best service for replacing tires, rotating tires and generally looking after everything to do with tires regarding your car. They have stores all over the country including Canada and the US and Mexico. As well as in many other countries depending on where you’re driving. You can have tire maintenance done at any of the stores as long as you have a receipt for your tires that you purchased at Costco.

Costco will rotate your tires, balance and check the air pressure  for as long as you own the car. If your tires are filled with nitrogen, they will also refill or top up your tires as needed with nitrogen.


Winter Tires 101 – What you should know!

Many people do not worry about having winter tires on their car, preferring to go with all season tires instead. The fact of the matter is that Winter Tires 101winter tires will provide a better grip in snow and ice conditions and provide a safer ride for you and your passengers. All season tires are made of a harder rubber that is great for dry conditions but lose elasticity in colder weather.  They have to adapt to all kinds of conditions and a wide range of temperatures from hot weather to really cold weather conditions and as a result you are not going to get optimum performance at the wide temperature extremes. Most consumers would be better off to own both a set of winter tires and also a set of summer tires.

Winter tires on the other hand are made from softer rubber compounds that stay flexible even in the extreme cold conditions of the northern US and Canada. They are also designed to deal with snow covered roads and icy conditions and are more optimal for temperatures below freezing. Snow tires have been optimized in another way as well. They have deeper tread patterns  than regular summer tires and also all season tires. They are designed to get a better grip on the road in heavy snow and they also provide better grip to prevent skidding. these same tires combined with anti lock braking systems provide better braking as well.

Winter Tires 101 – Four Winter tires, Not Two

Many people believe that two winter tires are all that is required. The experts agree that 4 winter tires are much more desirable for traction as well as braking.  They provide more stability in snowy conditions.  If you only place winter tires on the front of a front wheel drive car, you will get better traction in the snow, however when it comes to braking the rear tires with less traction will cause you to spin out of control. Four winter tires will provide optimum control for traction purposes as well as braking in ice and snow conditions.

The same applies to rear wheel drive cars, but differently. If you place snow tires on the rear wheels of a rear wheel drive car, again you will have good traction, however when breaking or trying to steer you do not have the same level of traction with the front wheel tires, unless they are winter tires. You can easily lose control and not be able to steer out of it.

Winter Tires 101 – Mud and Snow Winter Tires

Tires that are designated as all Season tires have a label M+S on the side of the tire indicating that they are ok for light snow conditions. These narrow treads are not sufficient for harsh road conditions that many people deal with in heavy snow areas.  They are useful and save money for consumers who do not experience a lot of snow. However some jurisdictions are going so far to enshrine in law that snow tires or winter tires must be on the car from Nov 1st until Mar 31st of every year. Mountainous areas also require snow tires and some even require chains to be added to the wheels.

Winter Tires 101 – Winter snow Tires

Winter tires have a symbol of a mountain and a snow flake on the sidewall. The treads are wider and deeper than all season tires. they are also designed to disperse snow and ice more effectively. they perform as much as 130% to 150% better in severe snow conditions. Also handling is much better  as well for steering and braking situations.

If you have driven in snow conditions with and with out winter tires, then you already know and appreciate the difference.  If not and think you can get away with all season tires,  try it once or twice in heavy snow to see the difference in handling and control. Try a friends car who has snow tires vs. your own to really appreciate the difference.

Comments are welcome especially from drivers who know the difference and have a story to tell about the difference winter snow tires can make.


What Tire Supplier Should You Choose

What Tire Supplier Should You ChooseThe last post that we added to our blog was all about the criteria and information you needed to have in order to select a set of tires for your vehicle. It was aimed at the average consumer planning on buying a set of tires for their car.

We had recently bought tires for our own car and wanted to share the experience and also what we learned. Every ones criteria will be different, so it is important to give some thought about what you want, what is important to you or high priority and who you need to talk to about tires for your car. The title of our previous post is “How To Select New Tires for Your Car” and you may want to spend a few minutes reading this post as well. Buying tires does not have to be complicated if you have all of the facts.

Our High Priority Criteria for Tire Supplier

For us we wanted a good quality tire at a reasonable price with a high mileage warranty that would give us stable and safe driving characteristics. We also wanted the following key features :

  • TPMS compatible
  • Nitrogen filled
  • Lifetime Balance and tire rotation included
  • Canada / US Warranty support

Most tire shops carry all of the big name tire brands and most will price match, so after doing a little homework to determine what price I should expect to pay for a set of four tires, it pretty much came down to the above 4 categories that would determine who I would go with.

Tire Supplier – America’s Tire

Very few Canadian company’s operate in the US or have affiliates that you can go to if you have tire problems. The same is true for US companies. We really like Americas Tire, They have given us really good service in the past and we would like to use them. However they do not have a relationship with any Canadian company and cannot provide warranty service in Canada. They do have shops all over the US and within 100 miles of our home in Canada, but there are companies that are closer with Canada – US coverage.

Tire Supplier – Wal-Mart

That pretty much left Wal-Mart and Costco as the two places that we could turn to that provided the coverage we were looking for. Wal-Mart had two negatives that caused them to fall by the wayside. Their price certainly was competitive, however they do not have the facilities to provide nitrogen filled tires, or at least the location I visited. Also their shop did not inspire confidence when I went in to get a price for the tires. The person helping me really did not know that much about tires and I just was not satisfied with the service they provided.

Tire Supplier – Costco

Costco was just so much more professional in quoting a price for tires plus they met all of our requirements. They provided Nitrogen filled tires at no extra cost, they were able to show me the tires they recommended. The tires were on sale at the time , they could install the tires within an hour of purchase, they supported TPMS and they provide a lifetime balancing and tire rotation service.

They are actually international, however being only concerned about Canada and the US , they have lots of stores throughout both countries and they fully support their warranty at all locations. In terms of TPMS, they had skilled technicians that knew enough to not damage the TPMS devices when installing the new tires.

So all in all, it was the right decision to go with COSTCO in this case for tires. The price and the service were excellent and they met all of our criteria for new tires for my car.

For the record we chose Michelin X-Radials DT with an 80,000 mile  warranty, nitrogen filled, lifetime balancing and tire rotation at any of their locations across North America.  Everything included the price came to $539 including taxes!


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.


Categories

Blog Index

Copyright © 1996-2010 Managing Home Maintenance Costs. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress