If you made it through the winter with marginal tires kudos to you.  If you made it through the winter with bald tires and liked taking risks skating down the road I am glad I did not see you coming my way.  Before taking any trips or possibly having a tire issue in the middle of a hot day please consider replacing any worn out tires.
Here are some helpful tips if you know tire time is coming but hate the tire buying process.

1)  Tread Depth
Tire tread depth is most commonly measured in 32nd’s of an inch.  The average set of new tires will be between 9-12/32nds.  Bigger truck off road tires usually have much more tread depth when new.  These big knob tires tend to wear down treads quicker due to the spaces and large knobs not uniformly running across the surface of the road.  On the other end of the tire style range passenger car tires and high performance car tires have tread that is much more uniform and contacts the surface of the road more evenly.  

In this photo on the left is a tire with less than 3/32nds of tread left with Lincolns head clearly visible on a penny.  The new tire to the right has 14/32nds and the penny is almost completely covered.  This simple test can help to determine if new tires are required.

While on the subject of high performance tires it is worth noting that these tires may start life out with a little less tread and are often a much softer compound.  These features help a high performance vehicle grip the road aiding acceleration and maneuvering.

2)  The right tire for you
The vast majority of vehicles on the road will not require a hard core off road tire or a super soft high performance tire.  Passenger cars, SUV’s, and most light trucks are designed to use a tire that is best for comfort, safety and economy.  

If you like a soft more plush ride keep in mind to look for a passenger series tire.  This is denoted by the P at the beginning of the size, such as P225/50R17.  There may also be no letter at all at the beginning  which would signify a lighter tire.

On the other hand if you may be towing or hauling heavy loads or find yourself off road in some less than smooth terrain a light truck rated tire would be a much more wise tire to purchase.  Many trucks require this type of tire be installed.  These tires will have an LT before the size such as LT275/70R18.  These tires tend to be heavier and may produce a more stiff harsh ride.  This is a natural side effect of being able to support heavier loads.

3) Maintain those rollers
Tire’s are not very cheap.  Therefore it is important to maintain those things to safely maximize the miles they will produce for you.  Check your vehicles owners manual for recommended tire rotation intervals.  A well trained service center should be able to show you and let you know if and when a tire rotation may be needed.  

Old worn out suspension systems may also contribute to premature tire wear.  Shocks, struts, ball joints, and the alignment will naturally degrade through the use of your vehicle which again is something a good service facility should be able to help explain and provide solutions for should you need any work done in these areas,

When alignment becomes out of an acceptable range you may notice a tire wearing unevenly.  Outer or inner edge wear is a good sign that it is time to have the alignment checked.  Everyday hazards can lead to this problem.  Driving through potholes, train tracks, or hitting a curb can all affect the alignment of your vehicle.

Hopefully you can load up your favorite vehicle and hit the road this summer without any issues.  With this little bit of info make sure that your tires do not become a reason you are side tracked while on your adventures.

Shop for your next set of tires

Written By Ford Parts Manager, Taylor Morgan

Categories: Service, Parts