(1) When should I think about new tires?
For the most enjoyable driving experience it's important to replace worn tires. Optimum traction helps provide responsive handling for a smooth, reliable ride. To determine when you should start shopping, follow these simple steps:
• First, test the tread. Pinch a Lincoln-head penny between your thumb and forefinger, so that the top of Lincoln's head is showing.
• Place the top of Lincoln's head into one of the tire tread grooves - try to measure in the deepest point within the tread.
• If any part of Lincoln's head is obscured by the tread, your tires have enough tread. However, if you can see above Lincoln's head, you're ready for a new tire.
• You should always check your tires in several tread locations. Be sure to check the inner, outer, and middle grooves of each tire, as tires can wear differently on each side, due to improper wheel alignment and/or low inflation.
(2) What should I consider when choosing a new tire?
Below are some considerations that make choosing a tire simpler.
• Look for tires that excel in tests for braking, handling, and resistance to hydroplaning.
• Let tread wear, ride comfort, noise, and rolling resistance help narrow your choices. (Comparative treadlife tests demonstrate that a manufacturer's warranty doesn't always reflect how a tire will wear, but used as an estimate, it's an important piece of information).
• Choosing a vehicle tire depends on where you live, weather and terrain issues, what performance expectations you have, and what your vehicle requires.
(3) What's the difference between all-season and winter tires?
The key to good traction is friction, but this can be elusive depending on the weather. Winter tires are designed to stay soft and pliable at low temperatures, so they will deform and re-conform to all the micro irregularities of the icy surface, resulting in grip. All-season tires are designed to help provide traction in wet and snowy conditions. Their reinforced sidewalls keep the tire shoulders on the road, while microgrooves help provide biting edges that lock together, enabling better grip when turning on wet roads.