Things You Need To Know About Tire Maintenance

The tires are a key part of your vehicle's performance and ride characteristics. The right tires correctly maintained promote a smooth ride, superior fuel efficiency and confident grip in wet weather. On the other hand, a set of worn tires, improperly inflated tires or even just the wrong tires for your vehicle and conditions can have a profoundly negative effect on ride quality. Here are five things we think you need to know about how to care for your tires.

Damage and excessive wear to your tires can be avoided with the proper maintenance and care 

5. How Long Should My Tires Last?

The average American drives about 15,000 miles per year, and a typical all-season car tire is built to last up to about 60,000 miles. That means you can do some basic math and estimate that a set of tires will last you, on average, about three to four years. Or, if you have a summer set of tires and a winter set for some snowy conditions, you might be able to get six to eight years of life out of each set. However, even if they haven't been driven on, tires do wear out. The experts at Car and Driver magazine say, "There is a general consensus that most tires should be inspected, if not replaced, at about six years and should absolutely be swapped out after 10 years, regardless of how much tread they have left."

These new, fresh tires have a deep, effective tread 

4. How Can I Check The Tread Depth Of My Tires?

When the tread depth of a tire wears down to 2/32 of an inch or less, it's in need of replacement. At professional service centers like ours at Capitol Chevy, we have special tools for measuring tire tread -- but you don't need one to perform a quick check in your garage. Just grab a penny, and insert it into the tread of your tires with president Lincoln's head facing down. If the tire tread can obscure all of Lincoln's head, then your tires have sufficient tread for another day. However, if you can see all of his head, then that tire is ready to be replaced.

3. Do I Need Snow Tires?

The answer to this question will depend on where you live. For example, here in Salem, Oregon where some winter snow isn't unheard of, but heavy snowstorms are rare, a set of quality all-season tires that are in good shape will probably serve you well even in the event of some snow. However, if you live at higher elevations or in colder climes where heavy snow is more common, snow tires are a smart investment.

When your tires begin to look like this, it's time to get them replaced with a new set 

If you do decide to buy snow tires, be sure to swap them out for all-seasons during the warmer months. Studless snow tires are made from much softer rubber which can better grip slick surfaces like packed snow and ice. However, on dry pavement, they'll wear much quicker. You'll be fortunate to get more than two years of life out of your snow tires if you don't swap them out during the summer.

2. Do I Need Summer/Performance Tires?

If you own a powerful sports car and want to get the most stopping power and roadholding for intense track day laps, summer performance tires can give you an edge. But the latest all-season tires can provide similar performance while giving you superior capability in wet weather for the drive home from the track. In fact, did you know the latest Chevrolet Corvette C8 comes standard with all-season tires? Yes, all those impressive specs and figures for the first mid-engine Corvette were achieved with all-season tires. In almost every case for life in Oregon, all-season tires are sufficient for your needs.

1. How Do I Keep My Tires In Good Condition?

If your tires aren't balanced and inflated to factory spec, they can wear down more rapidly, meaning you'll need to replace them sooner. Whenever you stop by for service, have our technicians inspect your tires. We'll make sure they're properly balanced and inflated to the correct pressure.

Furthermore, if your wheel alignment is set incorrectly, this can also cause accelerated tire wear. Be sure to have the alignment on your car periodically checked and adjusted if it gets out of spec.

Lastly, it's important to have your tires regularly rotated. That means switching which wheel locations each tire is mounted at. Since each wheel experiences different road forces, rotating your tires spreads the wear evenly across all four tires, extending their life. Chevrolet recommends having your tires rotated every 7,500 miles.

Let us keep you rolling with tire maintenance, inspection and repair at the Capitol Chevrolet service center.

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