Everyone knows that tires are an important part of any car or truck. Whether you’re on your morning commute here in the Chapel Hill, NC area, headed to the store for some errands, or taking a long trip, you need the right tires for the job. You also need to take care of them and look for signs of wear to make sure they’re in the best shape possible. Here are four things everyone should know about that point where the rubber meets the road, courtesy of Auto Pro To Call’s Chapel Hill tire experts.
1. Tires Are Your Car’s Most Important Safety Feature
If we were to stop someone at random on the street here in Durham or Chapel Hill and ask them what a car’s most important safety equipment really is, we’d get all kinds of answers, and almost nobody would get it right. Think it’s your airbags? Brakes? Bumpers and crumple zones? Headlights and brake lights? Sure, those are all important for your safety, but it’s your tires that truly take the prize.
Having the right set of tires that are running at the right pressures and aren’t worn out should be your top priority. Don’t drive your car unless you’ve looked closely at all 4 of your tire’s tread wear and pressure levels—every time. You need optimal grip to accelerate, turn, and brake properly. Don’t put your safety at risk! If you think you have a tire problem, just bring you car to Auto Pro To Call, and our Chapel Hill tire specialists will let you know if you need a pressure adjustment, rotation, or tire replacement.
2. Keeping the Right Tire Pressure is More Important Than You Might Think
Plan to check your tires’ pressures regularly, every week if possible. There should be a sticker on the jamb of your driver-side door that tells you what your optimal tire pressure should be. Tire pressures are generally listed in PSI, short for “pounds per square inch”, and you should expect the proper pressures to be between 30 and 35 PSI for most vehicles. Running your tires just a few PSI low can hurt your fuel economy, cause your tires to wear out faster, and even keep them from providing proper grip. Over-inflating your tires can also be a problem, putting added strain on the tire materials and causing uneven tread wear. Your tires are a very important investment, so be sure to protect that investment by maintaining the right pressures for proper performance and longevity.
3. Tire Wear Patterns Can Show You Other Problems with Your Car
In most cases, your tires should wear evenly across the width of the tread. That means you shouldn’t notice a major difference in how deep your tire tread is on the inside, middle, and outside of any of your tires. If your tires are wearing out faster in some places than they are in others, you might be running the wrong pressures. This could also indicate bigger problems with your car’s steering, alignment, or suspension systems. Here’s a basic guide to uneven tire wear:
- Inside sections wearing faster: If you notice that one or more of your tires seems to have less tread on the inside sections, closer to the middle of your car, it could mean your car needs an alignment or your wheels are sitting on the road at the wrong angle, also known as “camber”. Don’t delay. Bring you car to Auto Pro To Call so our tire specialists can take a look and recommend the right fix.
- Outside sections wearing faster: Tires that are noticeably more worn on the outside edges could indicate an alignment problem, but it could also be the result of too much high-speed cornering. If you see this happening on your car, it could mean you need to slow down and go easier on your tires. If you already take it slow in the corners, you should bring your car in for service here at Auto Pro To Call.
- Middle sections wearing faster: If you see that the center of your tire treads have less tread than the outer edges, this is a clear indication that you’re over-inflating your tires. Tires that have too much air pressure will bulge outward in the middle of the tread, causing this center wear and leaving more tread on the inner and outer edges. Check your car’s owner’s manual or the sticker inside the sill of your driver door to see the proper tire pressures you should be running, and don’t deviate from those recommended pressures by more than 1 or 2 PSI in either direction.
- Both inside and outside sections wearing faster: Opposite to the case above, if you see noticeably less tread on the inside and outside sections of your tire or tires compared with the middle, you’re most likely running tire pressures that are too low. When your tires are under-inflated, the center sections don’t have the support they need to press into the road properly, so the side-walls of your tires have to take the brunt of the weight, wearing down the outer edges of your tires more quickly than the center. It’s very important to check your pressures regularly! An outside temperature drop of just 10°F could cause your tires to lose as much as 1 or 2 PSI of pressure, so keep that in mind as our weather is changing.
- Flat spots: If you see one or more flat spots on any of your tires, that likely means you’ve been in an emergency braking situation. If your car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) isn’t functioning properly, it could allow your wheels to “lock up” under hard braking, meaning they hold still while the road scrapes a flat spot in one section of your tread. Flat spots on your tires can be dangerous and affect your road noise and ride comfort as well. Bring your car in to the Chapel Hill tire experts at Auto Pro To Call, and we’ll make sure you get the right replacement tires and your braking system is working as it should.
4. Our Chapel Hill Tire Experts will Recommend the Perfect Tires for You
The final thing you should know about tires is that there are so many options, it’s best to get trusted advice from your local tire specialists. At Auto Pro To Call, we have been serving Chapel Hill and Durham’s tire needs for decades, so we know a thing or two about tires. We also have great prices on today’s top tire brands and models, so we’re the perfect one-stop shop! Our experts will be happy to answer your questions and talk about your tire needs, then we’ll recommend the best tires for your car, your driving style, and your budget. It couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is schedule your tire service online or call us today at (919) 251-5438 to get started.