If You Pay Your Tires Respect, They Will Last Longer For You; Rotate Yearly
With winter and cold coming upon more than half the nation, many drivers will take their Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches in for service. The service may be a quick oil change or a major safety check (systems check that shows the state of things like the brakes, tires, transmission and fluid and the like) or it may involve something somewhere in between.
Good Time For Winter Checks?
For the most part, this is the time of year when you should have things checked. A driver in the northern parts of the U.S. has to make sure the heater is functioning well and that the defrosters are also working. Indeed, it’s a good idea to make sure the heater/cooling system is working correctly. And, of course, you have to make sure that the windshield wipers are handling things correctly, as well.
One of the items that many people take for granted is their car’s tires. They seem to believe that the tires never have to be moved from where they are to other spots to ensure maximum wear and to assure maximum safety.
Indeed, on a front-drive car, with the wheels and tires handling not only driving the vehicle but also its steering and braking, the stresses the front tires have to handle are amazing. If you were to leave the tires in place from Day One – the day you take delivery of the vehicle – and were never to move them, you would likely find the tires despite their construction, will last only 25,000 to 35,000 miles.
And, with the average age of vehicles now topping 11.6 years, new front tires can run into money over time. Let’s say you average the 15,000 miles per year that experts say most drivers do. Over nearly 12 years, you will put about 170,000 miles on your vehicle. If you rotate your car’s tires yearly, you will find that you can extend their life by as much as half. This means that instead of buying six sets of tires over the life of your car, you will buy 3.5 sets of tires over 170,000 miles. Putting hard numbers on it, if your vehicle’s tires cost $150 per tire for an install, you will spend $600 for a new set of tires. If you buy six sets of tires, you will pay $3,600. If you buy 3.5 sets of tires, you will pay $2,100, saving $1,500.
So, if you were expecting about 35,000 miles from a set of tires without rotating them, you can extend their life to more than 50,000 miles, in theory. There are, of course, other impacts on tires such as air pollution, photochemical smog (ozone), acid rain and plain, old sunlight. Each element contributes to things like extra wear on the tread and dry rot on the sidewalls. Either one or both can cut 10,000 or more miles off your tires.
Tires Need Fighting Chance
To give your tires a fighting chance – and to keep a few more dollars in your wallet – there are three things that you must do. They are:
- Make sure that you go over the surface of your tire tread, taking any rocks or other items like glass and such out of the tread before it can harm the tire. Use a needle-nosed pliers to take care of stones, twigs and other detritus. If you find a nail may have penetrated the tread, you can have the tire patched, however, be sure that it is done correctly from the inside out.
- Make sure you inflate the tires to the proper pressure. You can find the pressure on the door frame or the glovebox door panel. You can also find it in your car’s owner manual. Remember to check the tire pressure before you have driven in the morning so that the air hasn’t had a chance to heat up. You can find a good tire gauge in any auto supply department, market or a big box store with an automotive department. The tire gauge should cost around $5.
- Rotate your car’s tires.According to the Tire and Rim Association, there are three rotation patterns which cover most vehicles. The first being the "Rearward Cross" -- front right to left rear; front left to right rear; right rear to right front; left rear to left front. There's the X-Pattern -- front right to left rear; front left to right rear; rear right to left front; left rrear to right front. And then there's the "Forward Cross" -- Left rear to right front; right rear to left front; left front to left rear; right front to right rear.