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A tire primer

The one area of a car that gets talked about infrequently (way too infrequently) are the tires. We take them for granted, tires that is. The reason why is they’re not the most attractive, typically the dirtiest part of your car, and there isn’t much you can do with them. It’s not like your infotainment system for example, or even tinkering on the engine. Tires are well … pieces of rubber that don’t stimulate much thought. But they should, oh they should …

Tires are vital to the performance of our cars. A bad set can not only spell disaster for the overall car as a unit, but they can also result in extreme accidents or worse, death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knows a thing or two about this issue, where just three years ago 738 people in the U.S. died from tire-related crashes. That number is likely approaching the 1,000 mark in 2020.

When tires age small cracks in the rubber begin to form. These can appear on the surface or inside the tire. The cracking will invariably lead to steel belts in the thread completely separating from the rest of the tire. Sound bad? It is, and tread separation is not only confined to elder tires, it can also occur with poorly maintained tires or defective ones as well. Oh, and if you live in hot climates, that can also spell trouble for these big rubber wheels.

Most manufacturers will tell owners to replace tires after six years or so. Michelin and Continental continuously flaunt a tire lifespan of up to 10 years but do stress the need for an annual inspection after the fifth year. The age of a tire can be determined by the number that is printed on the tire’s sidewall, a U.S. Department of Transportation number. If a tire was made post-2000 then it will end with a four-digit code. The first two numbers in the sequence is the week the tire was manufactured and the second two are the year. For example, a tire with a DOT code of 1119 means the tire was made in the 11th week of 2019.

Additionally, it is recommended to avoid used tires. These are tempting offers, mainly due to their price. After all, new tires are pricey so any excuse to lower the price is welcome. However, even if you can identify the age of the used tire, you have no clue as to where said tires were stored, the temperatures they had to endure, etc. Best to avoid used tires in general as the short-term savings will likely cost you big in the long run.

Just some tire talk to brighten up you day, stay safe and keep these wheels on your mind! In addition to our extended warranty for your car, we also have a new tire coverage plan for your peace of mind.

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