Car Time – October 2019

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What to be Aware of When it Comes to Tires

    Tires are one of those things on your vehicle that has changed but still stayed the same. We still have to be aware of how proper vehicle maintenance will affect tire longevity. Now, we have technology affecting our tire longevity and budget. We have things like all wheel drive, run-flat tires and tire pressure monitor systems.
    All-wheel drive is designed to give your vehicle better traction and confidence in adverse weather conditions. Modern all-wheel drive technology makes all four tires grip the road when they need to. They use sensors to measure the tire revolutions, and computers to operate the system.
    It is crucial tires have the same amount of tire tread or the system gets confused and becomes damaged. It would be like spending your life walking around with one leg shorter than the other while holding hands with someone with equal length legs. It doesn’t work well.
    This means if you need one tire you may need all four. This is the reality. It makes you think twice about how much you need or use the all-wheel drive.
    Another question you may ask when you buy a new car is if it has a spare tire. It is a common trend for new vehicles to have no spare. This also means that it is likely that the vehicle is equipped with “run-flat” tires that can be driven at reduced speeds when a puncture happens.
    Run-flat tires are not repairable. This is all about the automotive manufacturers saving money by eliminating the spare tire and charging you more for tires. I don’t like the idea of going on a long trip with no spare. When shopping for your next vehicle be sure to understand what kind of tires it is equipped with and if a spare tire is present.
    Tire pressures are impactful on tire wear and fuel mileage. Modern vehicles are equipped with a TPMS light that is mandated by the federal government. This is like a “check engine light for your tires” This could indicate that you could have a low tire, puncture or a faulty sensor causing the light to stay on even when the pressure is OK. The bottom line, do not ignore this light!
    Overall maintenance, tire rotations, wheel alignments and regular inspections are crucial to good tire longevity. As your vehicle starts to show age some components become worn and will affect tire wear. Components such as shocks, struts, bushings and other steering/suspension components can make tires wear unevenly and shorten their life.
    Remember the tires on your car are only as good as the thinnest tread measurement. When tires are 50 percent worn or more, they do not offer the same wet weather traction and control as thick tread does. This is something to keep in mind as winter is right around the corner.
    As usual it comes down to paying attention to the maintenance and being a good consumer of automotive repair.

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