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TireSavings Tire Tips
To aid in your tire purchasing decision we have put together this page with a few tips to help you make the right choice.

First decide what kind of tire you want. Touring, High Performance, All-Season, Snow, or an All-Season Performance? Try to think of the weather conditions in the areas where you drive. Rain, snow, dry roads? Then, what kind of car do you drive? Sports car, family, sport utility?

Next, determine the size tire your car uses. This can be found in a number of places; Owners Manual, placard inside the door, or read the sidewall of the tire. Determine your buying criteria. For example, buying the highest quality tire for your car at the most competitive price. If you look for only the cheapest tire ultimately what you will get is a cheap tire.

You can use the links below for more specific questions.

   
     
How to read a tire
tiresavings.com Tire Specs
 
tiresavings.com Speed Rating
 
tiresavings.com Speed Rating


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Uniform Tire Quality Grading
The Uniform Tire Quality Grading rating is a quality rating system developed by the American Department of Transportation. It is designed to tell consumers the relative performance of passenger tires.

Below is an example of a UTQG Rating:

150A B

The "150" indicates the treadwear rating
the "A" indicates traction
the "B" indicates temperature

The ratings are based on controlled conditions based on a particular course. A tire graded 150 would wear 1 and a half times as well as a tire graded 100. Traction ratings are AA, A, B, and C, from highest to lowest. This measurement indicates a tires ability to stop on wet pavement. Temperature ratings are as follows from highest to lowest: A, B and C. These measurements indicate the tire's ability to sustain high temperatures which often cause tires to wear away quickly or in extreme conditions lead to sudden tire failure.

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Mixing Tires
Generally tires should not be mixed on any vehicle. To receive maximum safety and performance it is preferable to keep every tire on a vehicle identical in size, brand, model, rating etc. One of the only exceptions is if the front and rear wheels are different like on all Porsche's and other high performance vehicles.

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Tire Storage
Storing Winter Tires
The best place to store winter tires is in a cool, dry location. (Basement, or possibly a garage). You can lay them down flat, stacked on top of each other no taller than 4 high. This offers the most support and should eliminate any fitting problems the following fall. We also recommend that you return to the store/dealer from where you purchased your tires from and ask for storage bags. This will protect the tires from natural ozone in the air which can cause tire rubber to dry and crack. Wrap each tire individually and stack them.

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Air Pressure
The most common way of damaging tires is improper inflation. As tires lose pressure over time it causes them to experience irregular and early treadwear, and also give you poor gas mileage. One of the most common ways to spot whether a tire is inflated properly or not, is to simply look at them regularly. Do the tires squeal when you go around a corner at a regular speed? This may be a sign of one or more of the tires is low on air. You can find out what the proper inflation numbers on your tires are by checking the owner's manual of your vehicle or tires. Also remember to check your spare tire for loss of air.

Note that inflation checks should only be made when the tires are "cold", meaning they have not been driven for at least one hour.

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Tread Wear Indicator
As your tires wear down, their ability to grip the road decreases. Each tire has what are known as wear bars. Each of these bars are small raised points of rubber that run across the tread design and are visible when tires are worn out. It will be very easy to judge if your tread is as high as the wear bars. If so, you need a new tire(s). Usually before the tire gets to this point, they will begin to feel unsafe. If that is the case, do not wait for them to get to the wear bars. Just because the tread depth is not as low as the tread wear bar, does not mean it is safe.

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Tire Rotation
Because each tire on your car typically supports a different amount of weight, and your driving patterns will typically wear out one tire faster than the others, it's important to rotate your tires every 5000 to 8000 miles. Rotation patterns differ depending on what kind of vehicle you drive. The best place to check is in your vehicle's owners manual. If you can not find what you are looking for, below are some diagrams sowing you the most common patterns.

Of course, if your vehicle has different sizes of tires from front to back, or if your tires are directional, these may not work. Consult a professional if you are still not sure.

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Alignment
Vehicle alignment is one of the most important factors in not only vehicle care, but tire care. Improper alignment on either the front or rear wheels can result in unusual tread wear, damage to your suspension, and unusual handling for the car.

There are several alignment types, including both two and four wheel alignment. Four wheel alignment is always recommended, but some vehicles are not able to have the rear alignment adjusted. Consult with an alignment specialist you trust to find out what's best for your car. Check your alignment often as many unexpected everyday factors such as hitting a curb, rocks, and potholes can misalign your wheels.

Warning signs include your car pulling to one side or another, and irregular tire wear.

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Puncture Repairs
A puncture to any area of a tire's tread will affect performance and safety, and therefore must be immediately attended to through either replacement of the tire (spare or new tire) or a patch. Any patch that is applied to a tire must be applied to both the outer part of the tire (tread) and the inner part of the tire. The reason for this is that the rubber on each side is very different (inside is made of halobutyl rubber meant for holding air, while the outside is a harder durable rubber primarily designed for traction). A good tire repair can only be made if the tire is removed from the rim (wheel) and inspected carefully for any hidden damage.

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Noise and Vibration Problems
Below are the most common (but not the only) causes of noise and vibration problems:

a poorly seated tire on the rim
tire / wheel assembly out of balance
irregular tire wear
an out of round rim
an out of round tire

If there is a problem with your tires and the way they have been installed they will most likely begin to shake and vibrate your vehicle at between 50 and 65 mph.

When do you need to Replace Tires?

Tires are typically replaced when their natural lifespan has come to an end. There are however any number of factors that can affect this including storage, temperature, surfaces they are driven on, how aggressive of a driver you are, punctures, etc.

The usual recommendation for replacing tires is when they no longer feel safe to the driver. You can see when they are worn out using the tread wear indicator. A typical set of tires under normal driving conditions will last approximately 40 000 miles or 64 000 km. Some tires of-course are designed for much longer, even up to 80 000 miles or 128 000 kilometers.

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Mounting and Balancing
When mounting wheels & tires ensure the following checks are made:
Wheels are not damaged in any way
There is no dirt or oily build up between the hub and the wheel
Lugs are properly torqued
Both tire beads are securely mounted
Any retaining clips on the brak drums are removed

Improper tire balancing can have adverse effects on your car and your safety. The most common signs of unbalanced tires are vibration and noise problems. These can affect the speed, handling and mileage of your vehicle.


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