Friday, November 9, 2012

TIRES: Are Yours Ready For Winter?!

Worn out tires is one of the biggest causes of wrecks
and sliding when driving in snowy weather!
As of today, the cold and snowy Utah weather has officially begun! Are your tires good enough to get you to your destination safely? Tires are one of the most important parts on your vehicle that you need to maintain and make sure they are in good condition. Having a blowout on the freeway, or not being able to get into your neighborhood after a snowstorm because your tires are bald is very inconvenient. By keeping an eye on your tires and the condition they are in, you can eliminate a lot of headache on your part.

Many people do not know that we sell all makes of tires! Come in for your FREE tire check to make sure you are ready for safe Winter driving!

Stop by our shop in Kearns any time Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm for your FREE tire check! We are located at 4261 W 5415 South, 84118.

How do I know which tire to buy?!

Always check your owners manual to see what kind of tires you need for your specific vehicle. You can NOT just go by price! Remember, you get what you pay for!  If you can't find the information, ask us and we can look it up for you. At our recent FREE Women's Auto Care Workshop: Knowledge Is Power, we handed out information sheets on Load IndexSpeed Rating, and Tire Size. You need to take all of these into consideration when purchasing tires. Know the right kind of tires for your specific vehicle! As always, if you ever have any questions on your tire size, just ask us! We would be glad to go over it with you and explain it to you.

Here are a few different things to know about the specific features your vehicle may have:
  • Front Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive: Vehicles with front wheel drive seem to do better in the snow. This is because the front tires are the tires that turn, grasping onto the surface and pulling your vehicle. Rear wheel drive works with the tires as the ones that are turning, pushing your vehicle, and in the snow this can cause you to slide more easily. If you have a vehicle with rear wheel drive, you may want to add some weight in the back for traction. Many people will add sandbags to their trunk to get that extra weight.
  • Four Wheel Drive: Four wheel drive is when all four wheels are turning to make the car go. 
  • All Wheel Drive: All wheel drive is also when all four wheels turn to make the car go. The difference between the two is that with four wheel drive you have to manually lock in the four wheels to make them all turn; all wheel drive is where your vehicle detects that is it needed, and will lock and unlock the tires as needed in and out of four wheel drive.
  • Anti-lock Brakes: With ABS (or anti lock brakes), the computer watches the same sensors as Traction Control. When it monitors a wheel skidding then it will release the brake pressure from that wheel and when it starts moving again then it reapplies the brake to the wheel again, over and over again until you come to a stop. (This is the same way you were taught driving on a slick road but a whole lot faster.)
  • Traction Control: On Traction control there are many different ways to control the wheel spin. The computer can detect when a wheel slips with the Antilock Brake Sensors on the wheels. The computer then either upshifts the transmission, applies brake to the wheel spinning, or can even retard timing to take power away from engine. We were also taught in the old cars that if you are stuck and one wheel is spinning, then slowly apply the park brake to stop that wheel and both wheels will start spinning and possibly get you unstuck. This is the same principle.
  • Stability Control: Another neat feature on cars today is Stability Control. Stability control has a sensor that is called a yaw sensor. It is the same thing that is used in fighter jets. It measures the G force and how much steering. For example, if you are turning left and the rear end is spinning around to the right (too sharp of a turn), the computer will start applying the right front brake to stop the rear from spinning around. This same principle that has been used on tractors and dune buggies. If you are turning left and the front wheels keep pushing straight ahead and not turning, the computer will start pulsing the left rear brake and it will help bring the front end around.
What are the different types of tires for Winter driving?
  • All season tires: Most people can get by with standard all-season tires. As long as the tread is not worn out, you should be okay with all season tires.
  • Studded snow tires:  If you are in need of extra traction for severe mandatory have to drive in all storms then we still have Studded Snow tires that are the Greatest! If you find yourself driving in harsh snow conditions frequently, you might want to invest in studded snow tires. 
How does the tread on tires work to help me drive better in the snow?
The traction on your tires is what helps you to stop faster on wet and slick roads. If your tires are worn, and the traction is mostly gone, your stopping distance will be greater, and may cause an unnecessary collision. The channels and grooves in the tire tread is where the water and snow goes in and helps prevent hydroplaning.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated at all times. Watch this video HERE on how to check your tire pressure.
  • To tell if your tread is worn, you can use the penny or quarter trick. Put a penny or quarter head first into your tire tread. If you can still see the top of Lincoln's head, you need new tires. 
Determining The AGE Of A Tire
When purchasing a tire, you are going to want to know when that tire was made. Buying tires that are too old can cause you problems such as blowouts and flats. We also handed out an information sheet on Determing The Age Of A Tire at our Women's Auto Care Workshop that will help explain how to determine how old the tire is. The date the tire was made is found in the U.S. D.O.T. Tire Identification Number. 


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