Where Ottawa goes to get its Tires
Tires, like windshield wipers, brakes and oil filters, are classified as wear parts, meaning they wear out as a result of normal use. Tires, however, play a significant role in safety - every time you head out on the road your tires come into play. Gary's Automotive has been Ottawa's tire experts for over 30 years. Fortunately, tires seldom fail without some sort of warning - this warning often comes in the form of irregular wear.
We'll provide you some key irregular wear tire symptoms to look for and suggestions for tire repair solutions.
A tire has two components - the tread and the sidewall. The tread is reinforced by a series of steel belts that provide additional protection against puncture. The sidewall does not have the same protection. You will want to begin any tire inspection with a careful examination of the sidewall. Look for any cuts, bubbling, or cracking. If you find any of these, take your tire to a local tire shop for a professional inspection. If the sidewall appears to be damaged you would be well advised to install your spare tire before driving.
In addition to the sidewall, you'll want to give the tire tread a thorough inspection. Start your review by checking the depth of the tread. This will give you an idea of how many safe and carefree miles you have got left before new tires are required.
Every tire is equipped with several wear indicators (wear bars) that run across the tread in the grooves between the tread ribs. Before these wear indicators are flush with the ribs (a solid bar of rubber across the width of the tread), it is time to replace the tire.
During your examination you will also want to check for any abnormal wear. If the tread depth is uneven, note where the tire wear is occurring. You should be able to determine its source and, if it's not too late, correct it before you eat through the rest of your tire's useful life. There are four common causes of premature tire wear: improper inflation, poor wheel alignment, lack of rotation and front end wear.
Proper inflation is essential for normal wear on your tires. Low tire inflation is a bad thing - if your tires are under-inflated, the sidewall will sag causing excessive wear on the outside areas of the tread. Under-inflation also results in excessive heat, which accelerates wear and may cause a tire blow out.
Tires that are over-inflated will show uneven wear down the middle, with the outside edges remaining in relatively good condition. This will accelerate tire wear and decrease your tire's life.
The key is to check your tire pressure at least twice a month. When filling your tires, note the outside temperature. Hotter temperatures will expand the air in your tires raising the pressure by a few pounds; alternatively cooler temperatures will cause a reduction in tire pressure.
Poor wheel alignment may also cause unusual and excessive tire wear. Tires that are heavily worn on one side or the other are riding at an angle as opposed to flat on the ground. A side effect of this condition is decreased traction due to reduced rubber on the road.
Tires are the air-filled tubes that keep your car suspended above the ground and protect it from bumps and vibration. A good tire will give you the best traction possible, protect you from harsh road conditions and ensure that your steering works accurately.
The main reason it is good to have a high-quality set of tires on your car is that it's safer. A bald tire's not going to provide the traction a healthy tire will and for every bit of damage in your tires, your car will perform worse. But how can you tell if your tires are in good shape or not?
It turns out that checking your tires on a regular basis is not all that difficult to do. It doesn't take to long and can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. All you have to do is walk around your car and visually-inspect your tires. Here are some signs that a tire should be replaced:
- Cracks and cuts in the sidewalls
- Uneven tread wear
- Excessively-worn tread
- Bulges or blisters
- Excessive vibration while driving
There is a simple way to tell if your tread wear has gotten out of hand; all you need is one US penny. First, press the penny into a tire groove, with Lincoln's head flush against the tire. If you can still see the top of his head, then your tires need to be changed.
Every tire has a code on it's sidewall that represents its specifications. For example, given:
P stands for passenger car; LT is used to indicate a light truck.
215 is the tire's width in millimetres.
65 is the ratio between the height of the sidwall and the width of the tread. In this case, the height of the sidewall is 80% of the tread's width.
S is the speed rating. Tires with higher speed ratings are less durable. Q is reserved for snow tires. Here's a list of speed ratings:
- Q - 160km/h
- R - 170km/h
- S - 180km/h
- T - 190km/h
- U - 200km/h
- H - 210km/h
- V - 240km/h
- W - 270km/h
- Z - Greater than 240km/h
R indicates a radial tread tire.
15 is the diameter of the wheel rim in inches.
All-season tires typically begin to lose their grip when the temperature drops below -10°C. Winter tires are designed for cold and snowy road conditions. Winter Tires remain flexible in colder temperatures and the deeper tread pattern allows the winter tire to clear itself of snow as it rotates. Winter tires provide superior traction and safety for all winter driving conditions.
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