Sometimes it’s a drag being a grown up. If you drop a towel on the floor, there’s no one else to pick it up but you. When you get home from a long day at work, no one is there ready with a home-cooked meal. And you have to learn things about insurance, taxes, and tires.
We’re here to help you with one of those awful, grownup topics: tires. Let us help you learn how to prepare your tires for the upcoming season. Unless you’re buying some performance rubber for some track, autocross, or offroading, we know you would rather read about any other subject in the world, but it is time to put on your big kid pants and learn valuable information on maintaining your car.
Replace your tires regularly:
There are a ton of variables on how long you should wait before replacing your tires. The first variable, of course, is how many miles you have driven on them. Although the quality of tires varies greatly, most new tires are designed to last 50,000 miles. To have your tires last long enough to travel back and forth between New York and San Francisco 17 times, you need to take immaculate care of them. We’ll tell you more about tire maintenance in a bit. We know you can’t wait.
Another way to determine if it is time to change your tires is the old Abe Lincoln test.
To do the test, take a penny from your grubby cup holder and crouch down beside the tire of your car. Examine the tread, and determine which section of the tire has the shallowest groove.
Once you have found the spot that looks a little suspicious, place the penny into the tread of the tire. Make sure that the head is in the tread.
Look at the portrait of our 16th president. Here is how to read the results:
- If you can see Lincoln’s chin, nose, and eye, your tires are fine.
- If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, that means that your tires are getting worn.
- If you can see the tip-top of Lincoln’s head, that means that the tires need to be replaced – stat.
Rotate your tires.
We know what you are thinking. Your tires rotate every time you drive somewhere in your car, right? Unfortunately, to get your grownup gold sticker for the year, you have to make an appointment with your mechanic or local tire center to have them move the tires from one position to another. The pattern is dependent upon whether your car is front wheeled drive or rear wheel drive.
It would be best if you had your tires rotated every 6,000 miles. If you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, this means you should have your tires rotated every other time you change your oil. Go to the same place each time you change your oil, so you can use their records to spur your memory.
Rotating your tires will help your tires wear evenly.
Check your tire pressure regularly.
Most new cars have tire pressure gauges installed in the computer system of the vehicle. This means that you will be alerted by a small light on your car’s dash should your tires lose pressure.
If your car is older than 2007, you may need to check your tire pressure manually.
To do this, look for a tire pressure gauge, perhaps in your glove box. Unscrew the cap of the valve on your tire. Place the gauge on the tire, and read the results. Although some tires will have the correct pressure written on the side of the tire, it is best to consult your car’s owner’s manual. Check to see if your car’s tire pressure matches the suggested number in the manual.
Decide whether to purchase winter tires.
Depending upon your local climate, you may feel pressure to invest in winter tires for your vehicle when the temps start to drop. This may be a good option for you if you live on a mountain road often covered with snow.
Some mechanics say that you should consider purchasing Hankook all season tires for a better price. Ask your local mechanic on your tire purchase to make sure you pick the best tires for your vehicle and lifestyle.
Cheers to being a grownup. It does have some advantages. Even though you have to cook your own dinner and take care of your own vehicle, no one is around to make you eat your peas before you have dessert.