Auto Repair in Mint Hill – How Do I Maintain My Tires?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill

Tires come in many sizes. Do yours need some TLC?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill – How Do I Maintain My Tires? Tires – though one of the more obvious features of a vehicle, they can be one of the most easily neglected. After all, when we buy a car, the dealership is too busy telling us about the touchscreen GPS and air-conditioned seats to talk about the tires. Though they may seem simple, tire companies have literally reinvented the wheel to make them last for long periods of time and make for a comfortable ride in the process. In reality, the tire is one of the most complex parts on your vehicle.

 

So if tires are so engineered nowadays, just what makes a tire work the way it does?

 

Tires are made of three key parts: the sidewall, the ply, and tread. The sidewall is the edge of the tire – the part that actually holds the air in the wheel. The sidewall usually contains a “bead,” a line of rubber specifically designed to hold the tire to the wheel when air pressure is applied, similar to the way a zipper plastic bag works. The ply are steel belts inside of the tire’s rubber base – these belts strengthen the tire and help it keep its form, especially on low-profile tires. Plys are used to determine a tire’s strength. 4-ply is the most common strength used on Car and SUV tires, for example. Finally, the tread is the layers of rubber surrounding the top or the tire, providing grip and stability. Tread, along with the sidewalls, made of a rubber called “styrene-butadiene copolymer,” which is the most common for commercial tire usage around the globe.

 

Fun fact – tires are naturally white when produced, and are dyed using carbon black. If you use certain dyes when making tires, you can have colored smoke, like red or yellow, for fun. This most likely isn’t going to be found on a set of normal tires, though, so you may need to go to a local car show for colored smoke tires.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – What causes tires  to wear?

 

Tires wear simply due to use. Just like a kitchen appliance or mattress, a tire will eventually be too worn for further use. Most tires are designed to last between 50,000-70,000 miles, if they are properly maintained.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – What causes premature wear?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill

A tire that wore prematurely on its inside. Notice how the outside tread looks almost new but the inside has the ply dangerously exposed.

Tires can prematurely wear for many reasons, but the three most common reasons are either because the tires are inflated improperly, are not balanced correctly, or are not rotated at correct intervals (or at all!). Poor alignment can also cause premature tire wear.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – Why does rotating tires extend their lifespan?

 

Rotating tires extends the life because it evens out wear. Front tires almost always wear faster than the rear tires because they turn and control the car’s direction. By rotating tires, you prevent any of them from being on the front for too long. If done correctly, tires will wear evenly so that all four need to be replaced at once, as compared to two at one point and the other two at another. As a rule of thumb, tires should be rotated every time you get your oil changed.  That is also a good opportunity for the technician to inspect your tires for any unusual wear or tear that might indicate you have a problem.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – Why does improper inflation make tires wear unevenly?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill

A visual of common types of uneven wear.

When a tire is underinflated, it buckles, and only the edges of the tread will touch the ground and wear faster than the rest. When overinflated, only the middle of the tire touches the ground and wears prematurely than the rest of the tire. A tire is only as good as its worst point, so keeping proper inflation is crucial. Your car’s manual states what the proper inflation should be, and there may also be a sticker on the door of your car stating proper inflation.  Newer cars have a tire pressure monitoring system that alerts you with a light on your dash if your tire pressure falls below the optimal level.  If you see this light come on bring your car into Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill and have our technician check it for you.  You may be low on pressure or have a slow leak that you were unaware of.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – Why  do unbalanced tires wear prematurely?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill - Picture courtesy of Plymouth Tyres (United Kingdom).

Wheel weights are small rectangular shaped weights that are used to balance the weight of all four tires evenly. They are applied and removed without damage.

plymouth_tyres_wheel_weight

Tires must be balanced so all four weigh the same when inflated properly. If one is too light or too heavy, it may wear faster do to being overworked. Unbalanced tires also can make for a bumpy ride.  This is another service that is good to perform while you have your oil changed and they are rotating your tires.  If you feel a vibration or bumpy ride you can always get a balance check to while you are having your tires rotated.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – How do I know if I need tires?

Auto Repair in Mint Hill

The penny test for your tires. Be sure to hold the penny upside down if you do this test. Thanks Abe!

In North Carolina, tires may be no lower than 2/32”, by law. You can measure this with a penny. The distance between the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head and the edge of the coin is almost exactly 2’32”. If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln’s head, you tire is at or lower than 2/32” and it is time to replace.

 

Auto Repair Mint Hill – Where can I get tires?
Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill provides tires, and does everything from install, mount, balance, and align tires with nothing less than state of the art equipment. We provide multiple brands like Hankook, Michelin, Cooper, Goodyear and Pirelli tires. You can purchase these tires straight through us and our suppliers, or buy them yourself on TireRack.com. We are a Tire Rack Certified Recommended Installer, and you can have them shipped directly to our shop for convenience.

Ken Manchester