Tires 101

June 1st, 2016

Tires talk. What do they say about your tire savvy?

You can learn a lot about a persons knowledge of safe driving habits just by looking at his or her car tires. When you get behind the wheel in any season, are you confident that your tires can handle the weather and road conditions?

Scenario #1: You have all-season radials on your car in January.

Your tires say you like to live dangerously.

To be safe on the roads in winter, you should be prepared for the worst weather possible. In Northeast Ohio, that ranges from freezing rain, sleet and ice to inches (and sometimes even a foot or more) of snow. Although all-season radials may give you good performance under many conditions, they will not give you the grip, braking and handling you need for winter. Purchase a set of four identical snow tires imprinted with the mountain snowflake symbol. They need to be the right size for your vehicle and have a tread depth of at least 6/32-inch. Check out these additional winter driving tips.

Scenario #2: You have winter tires on your car in May.

Your tires say you like to spend money unnecessarily.

In the spring, you need to remove snow tires. Because they are made with softer rubber compounds and deeper tread patterns, winter tires can be noisier than all-season tires and will wear down more quickly in warm weather.

Scenario #3: You are using the 'penny test' to check for tread wear.

Your tires say you are an accident waiting to happen.

If you are using the old penny test to make sure your tires are still good (which involves placing a penny into the groove of a tire and checking to see how much of Lincolns head is visible), you may be driving on tires that are both dangerous and illegal.

In Ohio, tires that are down to 2/32-inch tread (top of Lincolns head) must be replaced immediately. Your chances of hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds increase significantly and your car has virtually no snow traction. Instead, use the quarter test to check for tire tread depth. If you can see the top of Washington's head at 4/32-inch, its time to start shopping for new tires.

Learn more about recommended tire tread depth in our helpful article and call today if you are concerned about your tire treads.

Scenario #4: One of your tires is damaged, and you replace it with a tire that does not match your other three.

Your tires say your driving may get out of control.

All four tires on your car should be as similar as possible. Otherwise, the performance and response of your vehicle will be affected, and you may even have difficulty controlling it, which could mean big problems the next time it rains or snows.

Scenario #5: You pick out a new set of tires for your car that are too small.

Your tires say you do not realize how tired they are.

Tires that are too small for your car mean the weight of the vehicle will be too much for them. Chances are your tires will not be able to respond properly in an emergency situation.